Singapore Puts Brakes On Joint Olympic Bid With Malaysia

A joint Olympic and Paralympic Games bid between Singapore and Malaysia has been put on hold, for now, according to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hosted an IOC Session in 2015 (GamesBids Photo)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hosted an IOC Session in 2015 (GamesBids Photo)

In a statement Wednesday the SNOC said “while the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was a successful one for Singapore (swimmer Joseph Schooling won the Republic’s first-ever gold), hosting the Games is not on our cards right now as we are unable to meet the requirements and demands of organizing an event of such magnitude.”

Talk around the possible joint bid began in 2014 after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) passed its Olympic Agenda 2020 that introduced new bidding rules including one that permits joint national bids – a tactic to reduce venue construction and share costs among more stakeholders.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar said Wednesday, according to Straits Times, that if the costs for bidding could be reduced then Malaysia would have a chance to host the Games.  That, he believed, can be accomplished by joining forces with Singapore.

128th IOC Session In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (GamesBids Photo)
128th IOC Session In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (GamesBids Photo)

But, he said, it was still too early to talk about the plan though a preliminary discussion “between two people” had occurred.

“(Malaysia and Singapore) have fully equipped facilities such as hotels, airports and convenient transport facilities. If they (IOC) make the cost of bidding cheaper or there is a different system, I feel it would make a lot of sense.”

Singapore played host to the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and Kuala Lumpur is set to host the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in August.

Due to the soaring costs and soured public opinion over hosting the Games, the IOC has been struggling to attract and retain viable host cities.  On Wednesday Budapest withdrew from the 2024 race, the third of five applicant cities to do so after the costs and risks were seen as insurmountable.  For the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, four of six applicants ended their bids before getting to the election.

There were seven bids for the 2016 Olympic Games and nine for 2012.

With only Los Angeles and Paris remaining in the race, the IOC has been considering awarding the Games to both – one for 2024 and the other to host in 2028.  That decision will be made September 13 in Lima, Peru.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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