The first two matches of V.League 1 were taken place without fans. — Photo VPF
HÀ NỘI — The chairman of Quảng Nam football club Nguyễn Húp has suggested cancelling the 2020 V.League 1 season due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
"Health needs to be on top. I propose cancelling the V.League 1 until next year,” Húp told domestic media.
“In my opinion, the health of players, members of the tournament, the whole community is a leading priority. It is the most important. If the next matches still take place and the disease situation is not better, it will be difficult for the players to play well,” Húp said.
“Also, the situation of the pandemic is more and more complex. Teams don’t know when the tournament will resume or if it will continue to be postponed.
“Clubs employ hundreds of people and spend a lot of money to maintain and operate the club. Playing without fans and having to deal with so many medical conditions amid a quarantine doesn't suit the speciality, spirit and target of the tournament,” said Húp.
The chairman said the players wouldn't be able to play to their full potential, as even travelling to an away fixture via plane would be stressful.
He added that big tournaments like the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship had already been moved to next summer, so cancelling the Vietnamese league wouldn't be out of bounds.
Chairman of Quảng Nam Club Nguyễn Húp. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
The V.League 1 has been postponed until the end of March at least.
Húp’s outspoken opinion caused controversy among those in the local game.
Firstly, cancelling the league would impact the tournament, interests of sponsors and the owners of television rights.
It would also significantly affect revenue from ticket sales, especially clubs with a large audience like Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, Nam Định and Hà Nội FC.
Meanwhile, some clubs spend VNĐ40-50 billion on players, staff and employees in a season.
In addition, the national top-flight is the backbone of the national team and cancelling the tournament would surely have a knock-on effect on coach Park Hang-seo's team.
The postponement has already impacted several V.League 1 clubs.
“With the current situation, the league will last longer. I don't know when the tournament will come back, so the training plan of Sông Lam Nghệ An (SLNA) and other teams will face many difficulties,” said Nguyễn Đức Thắng, technical director of SLNA.
The former head coach of SLNA said his team would wait for an announcement from the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) and the organising board.
“Football without fans will be very boring and the quality of matches won’t be high.
“The teams themselves are at risk of having to move from one city to another. Currently, we have to wait for announcements from the VFF and organisers,” said Thắng.
In response to the suggestion of the chairman of Quảng Nam, Trần Anh Tú, chairman of the Việt Nam Professional Football (VPF) company's board of directors said the V.League 1 will still be held.
Tú said the organising board is discussing plans to continue, with more matches behind closed doors one possibility.
“The cancellation of the V.League 1 would affect the national team, clubs and players. We still have to hold the event in the pandemic. We will announce the re-organisation plan soon,” said Tú. — VNS