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PHISGOC says sorry for billeting mishaps of SEAG football teams

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee issued an apology to the men's football teams of Timor Leste, Myanmar, and Cambodia for the problems that they encountered during their billeting immediately after they arrived for the SEA Games.

"We sincerely apologize to our athlete guests from Timor Leste, Myanmar and Cambodia for the inconvenience caused to them by the confusion regarding their transportation and hotel arrangements," PHISGOC said in a statement on Sunday. "While PHISGOC strives to ensure proper coordination of the arrival details, airport welcome and transportation provisions of all international teams to their respective assigned hotels, we acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better."

Photos depicting players from the three countries having problems with their accommodation and transportation went viral on Saturday night with international news organizations even picking up the news.

For one, Timor Leste, which was supposed to check in at Hotel Jen, was transported to the Century Park Hotel instead, causing delays to the team. PHISGOC, however, clarified that the billeting problem has been resolved.

"PHISGOC was able to arrange the delegates’ shuttle to the other hotel," the statement added.

In the case of the Cambodian team, in which some of the players were seen lying down on the hotel floor, PHISGOC explained, "Their change in arrival details was relayed late to the PHISGOC Games Services Department. Instead of the arrival time initially relayed to PHISGOC, the Cambodian team arrived in NAIA at 4 a.m. Transportation was immediately provided, but since their hotel rooms were not yet available because the standard check-in time is 2 p.m., PHISGOC requested that the team be allowed to wait at an air-conditioned private hotel conference room with tables and chairs where the members could rest and feel comfortable while waiting for their rooms."

PHISGOC then noted that the earlier arrivals prior to the said football teams went smoothly, so the committee was saddened that the hitches happened.

"The incident with the two teams (Timor-Leste and Cambodia) remains a constant reminder for us as organizers to be more diligent. We owe it to our guests and our countrymen," the statement ended.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno