Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism yesterday asked the National Sports Administration and the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) to strictly punish Long An following their behaviour in the match between Long An and HCM City in the V.League 1 on February 19.
The match was delayed for 10 minutes as Long An refused to play to protest referee Nguyễn Trọng Thư’s decision to issue a penalty to HCM City in the 79th minute with the score tied at 2-2.
After being persuaded to return to the pitch, Long An goalkeeper Nguyễn Minh Nhựt turned his back when the penalty was taken, allowing it to score.
Afterwards the Long An players allowed HCM City to walk through their defence and score twice more, leaving the final score 5-2 to HCM City.
The incident caused bad press for Vietnamese football as the story was covered by various international media outlets, with many mocking the Long An players.
Chairman of the VFF, Lê Hùng Dũng said the VFF would deal with the case severely.
According to Dũng, the match seriously affected Vietnamese football’s image. Long An’s behaviour was unprofessional, unsporting and disrespectful to the fans.
“I haven’t discussed whether the referee’s decision was right or wrong but Long An’s reaction was unacceptable. The VFF has directed the tournament’s organising board to send a report to the federation,” said Dũng.
Yesterday, Long An’s chairman Võ Thành Nhiệm offered the Long An Football Joint Stock Company’s board of directors his resignation.
“Although I didn’t tell the players to do, as a leader of the club that harmed the image of Long An football and Vietnamese football, I will accept responsibility and resign as chairman,” said Nhiệm.
“If the board of directors don’t agree, I will still resign,” Nhiệm added.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Nguyễn Minh Nhựt was suspended for three matches without pay.
Long An won the V.League 1 in 2005 and 2006. — VNS