My Dinh stadium good enough for football despite grass woes: sports official

By Nghia Thang   December 26, 2022 | 08:19 pm PT
My Dinh stadium good enough for football despite grass woes: sports official
My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on December 24, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong
The pitch at the My Dinh National Stadium may not look pleasing, but it is good enough to host the Vietnam-Malaysia AFF Cup match, a top sports official said.

Dang Ha Viet, director of the Vietnam Sports Administration, said Monday: "My Dinh National Stadium is still maintained and taken care of regularly. But for over a month the sunshine in Hanoi has not been enough for the grass to photosynthesize, and so it does not have the green color we wanted.

"But the ASEAN Football Federation have checked and assessed the stadium as good enough for game."

The Vietnam Football Federation paid VND800 million ($33,891) to rent the stadium for the Malaysia match on Tuesday, but the burned appearance of the grass has raised concern about the pitch condition.

Since the start of December temperatures in Hanoi have been 18-23 degrees Celsius with a few colder spells.

Viet pointed out that stadiums in Europe have heating systems and anti-fog and snow roofs to the grass green whatever the weather.

Vietnam does not have those and so the appearance of the pitch depends a lot on the weather, he said.

"I don't think the pitch poses a risk of injury. Usually, players get injured if the pitch is rough. This has been managed by pouring more sand and using rollers.

Teams that rely on high speed and intensity will often play on shorter grass and harder ground. Vietnam's playing style is not fast and does not depend on speed unlike Kylian Mbappe [the French star]. The ground at the My Dinh Stadium is relatively soft at the moment and the grass is not tall."

The stadium also came in for criticism when a goal crossbar was knocked off by the keeper during a friendly match on November 30 between Vietnam and German club Borussia Dortmund.

Viet assured that problem has been fixed and would not occur again.

"Previously the goal was usually made of iron, now it is made of aluminum to reduce the risk of injury to players. The goal frame is also assembled, not fixed. When it was assembled for the match with Dortmund, there was a screw missing, and when the goalkeeper made contact with the crossbar, it came off. It was irresponsible and we have learned from it."

The My Dinh National Sports Complex was formerly under the management of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The previous director of the complex Can Van Nghia, is under a cloud for wrongdoing and the complex owes more than VND800 billion ($33.89 million) to the taxman.

The complex has been handed over to the Vietnam Sports Administration but remains unable to pay the taxes. Every time the stadium is leased and rental money comes in, a large portion will be used to pay the tax debt.

Its payroll has been reduced from 200 to 90 since it cannot afford to pay their salaries.

Viet was appointed director of the Vietnam Sports Administration in May 2022 when My Dinh was already in debt and unable to pay.

My Dinh Stadium's quality before Vietnam vs Malaysia clash at AFF Cup. Video by VnExpress

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