Top-flight football to return to Vietnam in early June

At long last, football is back. The national top-flight V.League 1 will return to action on June 5 after being on hiatus since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top-flight football to return to Vietnam in early June
The V.League 1 will resume on June 5 and finish on October 25. VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen An

Following a meeting of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on Wednesday, the return to action and a change of competition format was approved, receiving 14 out of 15 votes from the members present.

The league will resume on June 5 and finish on October 25. The teams will complete the first round with 11 matches each to add to the two that were already held, after which the league will be split into the top eight teams to vie for the title and the bottom six to avoid relegation.

Fans will be able to attend matches if the local People's Committee at each ground allows it, though the VFF will send guidance to local governments for each stadium with different sizes and how many spectators can enter the ground to ensure spacing.

Only one team faces the dreaded drop as the relegation/promotion playoff with the second-best team in V.League 2 has been scrapped.

According to the VFF’s general secretary Le Hoai Anh, the plan is appropriate to the current situation and will still ensure high competitiveness.

“The result of the first round only aims to divide groups for the second round in which the organising board will give priority to higher ranking teams who played more at home,” said Anh.

“We must have special plans for special situations. We have to accept that. Many countries have to stop and recognise the results at the time of stopping. The maintenance of relegation is to maintain a competitive element for the tournament.

“The plan in the context of the response with the pandemic isn't like a normal plan. We will have to calculate for reasonable solutions. The organising board will have rewards for high-ranking teams to maintain motivation for players," Anh added.

 

Anh said this change is intended to ensure the league wraps up by October 25 to give time for the national team to prepare for crunch matches at this year.

Some coaches have already said the changes could leave some teams at a disadvantage.

"I think this change is reasonable and has its good points, the teams also agree with this plan. But some teams will be disadvantaged. Teams with good scores will be helped," said coach Pham Anh Tuan of Hai Phong.

"But only one relegation spot will reduce the drama of the national top flight. If we had two relegation places, the teams would have to try harder and the league would be better,” said Tuan.

Meanwhile, the V.League 2 will start on June 6 and is expected to end on September 26. The teams will play 11 matches in the first leg and then will be divided into two groups. The best six teams will compete for a spot in the V.League 1 and the remaining six teams will compete to avoid relegation.

The 2020 National Cup still retains the format of a single knockout match (five rounds with 25 matches).It is scheduled to take place from May 23 to October 31.  VNS

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