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Complimentary Tickets for the Southeast Asian Games Announced by Hun Sen

April 12, 2023 Asia Sports

The dispute with Thailand has been resolved thanks to the Cambodian leader’s announcement that television rights will likewise be free.

The Southeast Asian Games will be held from May 5 to May 17 and will feature 608 events over 37 sports, according to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. All tickets for the events will be free for both Cambodians and visitors, he said.

Hun Sen stated, “We have spent many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to organize this event, including grants from our Chinese ally. I will thus categorically forbid the selling of tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as for the competitions.

The 12th ASEAN Para Games, which will take place from June 3 to June 9, are also affected by the ruling.

Hun Sen, whose authoritarian management style is well-known, also issued a warning, saying that “any groups or officials that act differently will be liable to the Prime Minister and the law.”

The SEA Games, which take place every two years, will be held in Cambodia for the first time this year. The third Southeast Asian Peninsula Games, as the competition was then known, were scheduled to take place in 1963, but the political atmosphere forced the cancellation of the events.

Simply put, Cambodia was not prepared to host the games after three decades of conflict and an additional two decades of post-conflict reconstruction.

The 32nd edition will serve as a showcase for the country’s recent rapid development, thus the government is eager to promote it.

The SEA Games logo for Cambodia is “Sport: Live in Peace.”

After receiving complaints that the broadcasting fees were too exorbitant and went against tradition, where the host nation only charged a nominal fee, Hun Sen announced that anyone who had already purchased tickets would receive a complete refund and that the fees would be waived.

Thailand was reportedly asked to pay a record $800,000 for this year’s live broadcasts, compared to Vietnam, which will host the 31st SEA Games in 2021, which will cost $10,000 for live broadcasting rights.

According to a report from the official news outlet FreshNews, Samdech (Hun Sen) ordered that foreign TV stations not be charged a fee for airing the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia.

11 nations, including all 10 ASEAN members and Timor-Leste, which is anticipated to join the group later this year, will compete in the events, and Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia have already secured an agreement to cover live broadcasts of them.

The games were anticipated to give the local economy, particularly tourism, which is still battling to recover from the COVID-19 outbreak, a much-needed boost. A $150 million stadium with 60,000 seats was erected with a grant from China under its Belt and Road Initiative.

A multi-sports arena with a seating capacity of 5,500, an aquatic complex featuring an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and dormitories for roughly 7,000 athletes and officials have all been constructed. Seven thousand more people have offered to assist.

The choice by the host to use the popular Thai term “Muaythai” for boxing instead of the Cambodian term “Kun Khmer” has caused the most controversy to yet and prompted threats of sanctions from the International Federation of Muaythai Associations.

FreshNews continued, “The SEA Games, held in Cambodia for the first time after 64 years of waiting, is a historical event and a source of national pride. The planning of this event is seen as a diplomatic strategy by the Royal Government of Cambodia to improve Cambodia’s reputation.

The Southeast Asian Games will also take place just two months before the national elections on July 23. Hun Sen’s long-reigning Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is the only candidate for those elections because the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) was declared illegal by the courts in 2017.

Since then, CNRP officials have been apprehended and found guilty of charges ranging from defamation and provocation to preparing a color revolution to overthrow Hun Sen and the CPP. Many have received severe prison sentences.

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