President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah on April 23 showed his support for Vietnam’s decision of withdrawing from hosting the 18th Asian Games (ASIAD 18) in 2019.

He had a working session at the OCA headquarters in Kuwait with a Vietnamese delegation headed by Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh, who cited economic difficulties and lack of experience in organising big sports events like ASIAD as the reasons for Vietnam ’s decision.

The OCA leader said that he sympathises with the difficulties Vietnam is facing and affirmed that the council will not penalise the country for its withdrawal.

In OCA’s statutes, there is no article stipulating how much a host country of ASIAD has to pay if it withdraws. The penalty is based on the council’s decision after it hears the country’s reasons.

During the working session, Vietnamese officials also informed the OCA leader of their country’s preparations for the 2016 Asian Beach Games in the coastal central city of Nha Trang, saying that Vietnam pledges to successfully organise the event.

The official decision of OCA on Vietnam’s withdrawal will be announced at an April 24 press conference which is chaired by the council’s General Director Husain Al Musallam.

Indonesia and Malaysia, also in Southeast Asia, have expressed their willingness to host ASIAD 18.-VNA