Cambodia surrendered its appointment to host this year’s Tiger Cup tournament because of unfinished repairs to Olympic Stadium, a national football official said.
Vietnam is likely to win the bid to replace Cambodia as host to the regional football tournament. That country was on standby to host.
The event could have helped improve the country’s international image and drawn tens of millions of dollars in tourism and investment, said Khek Ravy, president of the Cambodian Football Federation.
Early last year Cambodia and Malaysia were selected to host the biennial games scheduled for December. Officials hoped the event would draw crowds from across the region and boost tourism in Cambodia.
But the Cambodian Football Federation forfeited its bid this month as lingering repairs at
Olympic Stadium were not done. Khek Ravy said sewage and electric work was still needed before the stadium could be functional.
If a Tiger Cup game drew a capacity crowd at the stadium, “the whole thing would be flooded with sewage,” Khek Ravy said. “It would not be good for the image of Cambodia.”
A $3.6 million project to renovate the stadium is mired in controversy. Khek Ravy alleged that the Ministry of Education failed to take control of the project and get the quality work it had paid for.
“The government must tell the contractor, ‘This is not done correctly, and it must be redone.’ But they say nothing,” he said. The loss of the host bid is the latest blow to a national football program trying to break from a legacy of failure. Two months ago the national under-23 team was winless in the Southeast Asia Games.