JAKARTA, March 22 (Reuters) - A simmering row over axed sports at this year's Southeast Asian Games have not harmed Indonesia's chances of staging the region's biggest event, the country's sports council has said.
Despite recent complaints over the scrapping of billiards, snooker and women's football for November's SEA Games in Indonesia, the national sports council (KONI) insists they have a good chance of hosting the larger scale gathering in 2019.
"We have an opportunity to host the 2019 Asian Games without having to go through a bidding process," KONI chairwoman Rita Subowo was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post, referring to the Olympic Council of Asia's backing for an Indonesian bid.
"If we can't do it then, our second opportunity will be in 2023, but that will have to be through a bidding process," she added.
"This all depends on the government. First, there's the financial issue that we have to discuss, then the preparations and the time frame, whether it will clash with the elections or others."
Other candidates to have expressed interest in a bid for the 2019 Games include Vietnam, India, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.
Indonesia previously hosted the Asian Games in 1962 and will host the 26th SEA Games in the Sumatran city of Palembang.
As well as the scrapping of some events, Games organisers have also been criticised by participating nations for reducing the shooting, cycling and sailing programmes.comments