SEA Games representatives discuss tournament organisation

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Việt Nam’s U23 players practising in Hà Nội. They will compete at the upcoming SEA Games. Photo of VFF

HÀ NỘI — Participating countries’ representatives agreed on various activities for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the second chief-de-mission meeting on March 18 in Hà Nội.

Delegates who took part online and offline were updated on the latest information about Việt Nam’s preparation for the 31st Games, such as competition programmes, venues, logistics, transportation, import-export procedure, security, health and anti-doping issues.

They also discussed and agreed on professional and technical matters and suggested ideas that the hosts noted, and promised feedback as soon as possible.

One of the significant concerns was about football tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delegates asked organisers to increase the number of players who can be registered to more than usual at the May competition.

Initially, each team can make a list of 20 players, including three over-23 years old.

If players are affected by COVID-19, teams will still have enough players to continue at the tournament.

Lê Thị Hoàng Yến, deputy director of the Việt Nam Sports Administration, said the 31st SEA Games organisers would talk with the Việt Nam Football Federation to consider and approve the proposal.

The deadline for football team registration is March 30, and the draw will be in mid-April.

The men’s group rounds will be held from May 6-25 in Việt Trì Stadium in Phú Thọ Province and Thiên Trường Stadium in Nam Định. Semi-finals and final matches will take place in Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đình Stadium.

The women’s football tournaments will be held in Cẩm Phả Stadium in Quảng Ninh Province and PFV Stadium in Hưng Yên, from May 11-21.

Regarding COVID, Yến said delegations would be allowed to replace their competitors before they arrive in Việt Nam. However, if athletes were tested positive during their competitions, their results would be cancelled, and no substitutes would be accepted.

“Athletes who have close contacts with F0 athletes will not be isolated and will be allowed to compete if their tests are negative. Organisers will set up strict COVID-19 control measures, regularly carry out tests and save places for patients to receive treatment,” Yến said.

About spectators and supporters at the Games, Yến said different plans were made depending on circumstances. Competitions may close, be open for limited fans or welcome everyone, but in all cases, they will not be asked to test for COVID-19.

The organisers said all gymnasiums, stadiums and sports complexes were almost done. They will be ready to host pre-SEA Games tournaments from early April.

SEA Games chef de missions in a meeting on March 18 in Hà Nội. Photo of organisers

Delegates will have inspection tours to venues in Hà Nội, Bắc Ninh and Quảng Ninh on March 19. In April, organisers will make final checks to ensure the success of the Games.

The 31st SEA Games is scheduled for May 12-23 in Hà Nội and 11 other provinces and cities.

“We appreciate ASEAN countries’ support for us and hope to receive your hands in actively sharing and joining in the successful organisation of the 31st SEA Games,” said Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Văn Hùng.

“Although we have met many difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Việt Nam has worked hard to prepare for the regional largest sporting festival, ‘For a Stronger Southeast Asia’,” he said.

This is the second time the country has hosted the SEA Games.

The upcoming Games will feature 40 sports in 526 categories and welcome around 10,000 participants. — VNS

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