FIFA president to present AFF Cup trophy to winner

By Lam Thoa   January 15, 2023 | 01:44 am PT
FIFA president to present AFF Cup trophy to winner
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (L) and VFF Chairman Tran Quoc Tuan. Photo courtesy of FIFA
FIFA President Gianni Infantino will attend the second leg of the 2022 AFF Cup final between Thailand and Vietnam on Monday and present the trophy to the winner.

Infantino will attend the match at the invitation of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Chairman Tran Quoc Tuan said on Sunday.

The Vietnam-Thailand match is considered the dream final of Southeast Asia, as the two teams are long-time arch-rivals in the region. However, AFF Cup is not part of the FIFA competition system and some famous Southeast Asian players could not participate in this tournament because the clubs refused to release them. Thailand's Chanathip Songkrasin and Suphanat Mueanta, and Vietnam's Nguyen Cong Phuong are absent for this reason.

In the first leg at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Friday, the two teams drew 2-2. Vietnam opened the scoring thanks to Nguyen Tien Linh's header, but Thailand got ahead with two goals in the second half, both assisted by Theerathon Bunmathan. The host escaped defeat thanks to a long-range strike of the substitution Vu Van Thanh in the 88th minute.

The second leg final will take place at Thammasat Stadium in Bangkok at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. The 2022 AFF Cup applies the away goal rule, so Vietnam are at a disadvantage. They will have to win or draw by three or more goals. If the score is 2-2 after 90 minutes, the two teams must play extra time and the away goal rule will not apply during this time.

Infantino was promoted from UEFA General Secretary to FIFA President football in 2016, replacing Sepp Blatter, who was banned from football for six years due to corruption allegations.

In the 2016 election, Infantino beat the then-Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa. In 2019, Infantino was re-elected for the first time. Since then, he was in charge of the preparation for the 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., as the number of participating teams increased to 48.

Infantino will remain in office for another four years, until 2027, as the sole candidate in the March 2023 election.

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