National women's championship to kick off in May
Phong Phu Ha Nam 1 will play Son La in the opening match of the National Women's Football Championship on May 18 in the northern province of Ha Nam.
|HCM City players celebrate after beating Hanoi Watabe 1 during their match at the National Women's Football Championship last year. HCM City will defend their title as the tournament is scheduled on May 18-August 6. — Photo nld.com.vn|
The tournament, sponsored by Thai Son Bac Electric Equipment Trading Company, will feature new team Phong Phu Ha Nam 2 to make a total of nine participants.
It will be held in a two-leg round-robin format. The first leg is from May 18 to June 20 at Ha Nam Stadium and Hanoi's Thanh Tri Stadium. The second leg is from July 4 to August 6 with the venue to be confirmed later.
The organisers will apply new FIFA rules that allow teams to make up to five substitutes per game, up from three, to be made across three windows.
The winners will receive VND300 million (US$13,000) from the sponsors. The best goalkeeper, top scorer and best overall player will also get individual bonuses.
Last year, HCM City took the title with one game to spare. Hanoi Watabe 1 came second and Quang Ninh Coal and Minerals finished third.
In 23 seasons of competition, Hanoi Watabe 1 and HCM City have dominated with 10 and nine titles, respectively.
It is also the 10th year in a row Thai Son Bac Company has been involved in the championship.
"Ten years is not a long period in comparison with a human life but it is pretty long for a sponsor who has been attached with the tournament through ups and downs, especially women's football which is not as popular as the men's game," said Bui Dinh Te, Thai Son Bac chairman of the board of directors.
"But we are happy because during that time Vietnam women's football has not only remained but also developed in both the amateur and professional field. This year's event will be played when the COVID-19 is still around but it is really important because it is a kind of pre-SEA Games competition. We hope that it will be a successful tournament and the players will show their talent to become national team members to defend their title at the coming Games," said Te at the sponsorship signing ceremony on Monday in Hanoi.
Speaking at the ceremony, Vietnam Football Federation General Secretary Le Hoai Anh said the support of Thai Son Bac Company played a key role in developing women's football.
Despite challenges and obstacles, the national tournament is highly competitive and an ideal environment to nurture players' passion and aspiration to contribute to the country, he said.
Teams are now competing in the third National Cup in Hanoi on April 20-May 8. They will have 10 days rest before the national championship.
After delays due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the first leg of the Women's National Football Championship -- Thai Son Bac Cup 2020 -- will run from September 22 to October 13.