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Asiad hosts worried about costs

September 30, 2014

FMT LETTER:

From: V Thomas via e-mail

asian-games-opening-ceremonyThe high cost of hosting the 2018 Asiad prompted Vietnam to give up midway and instead the baton has been passed to Indonesia, which last hosted the Asian Games in 1962.

Nowadays hosting the Asiad needs billions of dollars in expenditure and preparation and many governments are hard pressed to find the huge funds especially when the economic situation is fraught with problems, popular opposition and criticisms.

As such there is an urgent need to consider ways to reduce venues and expenditure. Cost reduction can occur if the number of stadiums and venues as well as the number of participants and officials can be kept to the minimum.

For some sports no reduction can be made as the total number of participants especially in badminton, squash, archery, cycling etc. is too small.

However, major reductions can be made in football, hockey and some other sports as there is no need for so many teams especially when the majority show poor quality and lack spectator interest as can be observed by the near-empty stadiums.

Building new stadiums or renovating old ones takes a lion’s share of the total cost and there is a need to reduce expenditure to enable hosting to be attractive to potential countries.

For football, selection for the Asiad can be done on a regional basis with the Middle East, Central Asia and East Asia sending two teams each whereas Southeast Asia and South Asia can only send one each because of their lower standards.

This will mean that only eight soccer teams, divided into two groups of four teams each, will be at the Asiad. This will raise the quality of football. Such strict quality control will raise the profile of many an Asiad sport.

The tagline and slogan for the Incheon Asiad is “Diversity Shines Here” and it will be better if diversity can be coupled with quality to ensure that the Asiad remains a top attraction every four years.

Just as world and Olympic records are broken in the Asiad – there is also the opposite where the quality displayed by some countries in some sports is extremely low and mediocre.

South Korea as a developed nation has done a wonderful job as hosts with their innovation, creativity and excellent organisation.

Developing countries will be hard put to spend billions hosting the Asiad especially the next host – Indonesia – and the only way will be to reduce costs.

Another future option is to co-host the 35 nations of Asiad regionally to make it affordable. For example co-hosting by Malaysia and Singapore, Iran and the Gulf states, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian nations.

What is really needed is for the Asian Games to be reorganised as a premier international event now that China, South Korea, Japan and the Middle East nations are producing world class athletes, and that there is no place or excuse for poor quality or mediocrity in the Asiad anymore. South Asian and Southeast Asian nations must take note of this.


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