Opportunity for Philippines to host 2019 SEA Games after Brunei pulls out
Volleyball star Alyssa Valdez stands at the head of the Philippine contingent during the opening ceremony of the Singapore SEA Games on Friday night. AP

SINGAPORE - An opportunity to host the Southeast Asian Games earlier than anticipated opened up for the Philippines after Brunei pulled off of hosting the 2019 showpiece, citing lack of government support.

Brunei officials informed the Southeast Asian Games Federation council meeting on Friday of its decision after failing to secure a commitment of funding from the country's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

“It is with much regret for us to inform the council today. That is the news we received,” Brunei National Olympic Council (BDNOC) vice president Hj Muhd Zamri Paduka Hj Hamdani was quoted as saying by The Brunei Times.

“The main reasons... were lacking of sports facilities, accommodation and not enough preparation for the athletes.”

The Philippines is set to host the Games in 2025 but unconfirmed reports coming out of the meeting bared officials have expressed interest in stepping in for Brunei on short notice.

Philippine officials were unavailable for comment at posting time.

During the same meeting, Malaysia was confirmed to host the next meet in 2017. Vietnam will host the 2021 Games while Cambodia was confirmed as host for 2023.

The Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005, winning the overall championship.

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