V.League 1 eyes July return to play

June 24, 2021 - 08:25

The Việt Nam Professional Football (VPF) Company has proposed a plan for the resumption of club football to end the season on schedule.


Hoàng Anh Gia Lai's Triệu Việt Hưng (left) and Nguyễn Thanh Khôi (centre) vie for ball against Hải Phòng's Nguyễn Thành Đồng during their friendly match on June 16. Hoàng Anh Gia Lai won 3-0 as both teams prepare for the return of the V.League 1 in July. Photo Hoàng Anh Gia Lai FC


HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Professional Football (VPF) Company has proposed a plan for the resumption of club football to end the season on schedule.

The V.League 1 was suspended on May 7 just hours before the final round matches of the first half of the season after several Sông Lam Nghệ An players were found to have had contact with a man who was on the same flight with a COVID-19 patient.

The players were quarantined for tests which returned negative.

"The VPF has sent a document to the Việt Nam Football Federation in which we have suggested a new schedule for the V.League 1. The national premier league's second period will be held in selected venues," VPF General Secretary Nguyễn Minh Ngọc said.

The VPF plans to hold the final round of fixtures of the first period on July 31 in seven stadiums. 

Sài Gòn FC are suggested to borrow a venue from Hoàng Anh Gia Lai FC (HAGL) or Bình Định FC due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in HCM City.

As Vinh Stadium is undergoing repairs, Sông Lam Nghệ An (SLNA) will have to play in either Hà Tĩnh or Thanh Hoá.

After that, teams will be divided into the top-six clubs to battle for the championship and the other eight to avoid relegation, with the matches kicking off on August 6.

"In the second period, teams will compete in nine stadiums of Hàng Đẫy, Cẩm Phả, Lạch Tray, Thiên Trường, Thanh Hóa, Việt Trì, PVF and Thanh Trì in the north. We will make sure that they would not have to travel too much," said Ngọc.

The top six will play a match every four or five days while the bottom teams will have three days rest between their games.

The fixtures, which fans will not be able to attend, would end on August 22.

"It is a thick timetable but we have no other way. It is because the national players will gather for a training camp (in August) to prepare for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the 31st SEA Games and the AFF Cup," said Ngọc.

“The national team's outstanding result is partly due to the successful organisation of the V.League 1 which has kept players at their peak. If the V.League 1 can not go to the end, it will have a huge influence on both organisers and clubs. We will collect opinions from participating teams and make changes if necessary."

He added that the plan could only be carried out if the pandemic was well controlled and the VPF's proposal was approved by local authorities.

Currently, HAGL are on top of the table with 29 points. They have returned to training and have had some friendly matches to warm up.

SLNA, who recently extended the contracts of key players Phan Văn Đức and Nguyễn Xuân Mạnh, are bottom with 10 points.

Earlier, the VPF also halted V.League 2 play after the eighth round of fixtures. The competition is set to return before the V.League 1 according to Trần Anh Tú, VPF Chairman, but no specific date was revealed.

Meanwhile, there is no plan for the return of the third-tier of football, which is run by the VFF. The competition was paused after the first round of matches on May 9. VNS