Organisers of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games have announced they will be giving free tickets away for 53 sports, amid reports of a chaotic build-up marred by last-minute construction and logistical problems

Philippines SEA Games Organising Committee (PHISGOC) chairman Alan Peter Cayetano announced the news to quell public calls to make the event – set to kick off tomorrow (Saturday) and run until December 11 – more accessible.

Fans will still be required to buy tickets for basketball, volleyball and football events held at the 15,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena, the 10,000-seat PhilSports Arena, the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, and the Binan Football Stadium.

Cayetano told reporters: “We will soon announce the mechanics. Basically, we don’t want to create a hassle so we will assign ticketing to the LGUs (local government units).”

In addition, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte ordered the PHISGOC to provide 10,000 free tickets out of the 20,000 seats for the closing ceremonies at the Athletics Stadium in New Clark City on December 11.

Duerte said: “So what we will do is that LGUs near the venues will be tapped and tickets will be got from them. The other 15,000 in the closing ceremonies will be distributed around the Athletics [Stadium], in Tarlac, Pampanga, and Bulacan.”

In July, PHISGOC announced it was looking to secure a ticketing partner after announcing all venues will charge gate tickets for the 2019 edition of the multi-sport event.

Duerte has also reportedly called for an investigation into the preparations of the games following complaints over transport, accommodation and food flooded in as athletes and journalist descend on the area.

“I said let us investigate. Do not create a firestorm now because we are in the thick of preparations,” he told reporters, according to Channel News Asia.

“To me personally there was a lot of money poured into this activity. Now I suppose that with that kind of money you can run things smoothly. Apparently, maybe something went wrong.”

The Philippines’ fourth time hosting the SEA Games will feature a record 56 sports and 530 events, with swimming, diving, athletics, badminton, boxing, and gymnastics being some of the other sports taking place.

Image: Qaedi Shamsuddin