Vietnam’s postponed Southeast Asian Games will now take place in May 2022, with the exact dates for the multi-sport event to be confirmed at the end of the month.

The Games had been due to take place from November 21 to December 2, but the event was postponed in July as Vietnam sought to combat its worst COVID-19 outbreak. 

Vietnam, which last hosted the SEA Games in 2003, had drawn together a budget of $69m (£50m/€59m) to stage the event.

The decision to hold the event in May was taken during the virtual SEA Games Federation (SEAGF) Office meeting. The specific dates for the event will be announced after the Vietnam Organising Committee receives confirmation from the Vietnam Government.

The meeting was chaired by SEAGF chief executive Datuk Seri Chaiyapak Siriwat, who said: “We think we have reached a stage of certainty and a final decision on the implementation of the SEA Games. We wish to thank Vietnam for coming back with certainty in terms of the dates, that is May 2022.”

This year’s Games had been due to gather over 10,000 athletes, coaches and other participants. The decision to postpone the event came after Ho Chi Minh City, the economic heart of Vietnam, commenced a two-week lockdown.

Hanoi, which is due to be the main host city for the SEA Games, had recorded fewer cases but moved to suspend transport links with at least 14 cities and provinces. Northern industrial provinces Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, where Games events were also due to take place, saw virus clusters ahead of the postponement announcement.

Next year will be a busy one for multi-sport events, with the Asian Games scheduled to take place in Hangzhou, China from September 10-15 and the Commonwealth Games, an important event for the likes of Malaysia and Singapore, to be hosted by the English city of Birmingham from July 28 to August 8. China is also due to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing from February 4-20.