AFF Cup shocker: Vietnamese fans denied entry, seats

By Khuong Nha   December 11, 2018 | 11:20 pm PT
AFF Cup shocker: Vietnamese fans denied entry, seats
A group of Vietnamese fans stand in the Malaysian fans’ area because there were no seats for them. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Many ticket-holding Vietnamese fans were distraught after being denied entry for the Vietnam-Malaysia AFF Cup first leg final Tuesday.

As they arrived in Malaysia to cheer their team at the game held in Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil Stadium, many Vietnamese fans were not allowed to enter the stadium and many could not find a seat inside.

"One woman in our team was crying outside the Bukit Jalil stadium because she was not allowed to go inside though she had a ticket," said Hoang Manh, a Saigon resident.

Que Dao, another Vietnamese fan, said: "I don’t understand why, when the seats are sold with the tickets, organizers said there were no seats available. All of us had tickets."

Dao said some of them were able to enter the stadium, others had to remain outside.

"Long queues of people in national flag T-shirts waited outside gate 1D-114 but the guards did not allow them inside, so that they could arrange seats for Malaysian fans first. Only then they allowed Vietnamese fans to enter," said Huy Toan, a tour guide.

Many fans could not find a seat even after entering the stadium.

"When I arrived, the door to the stand had been locked," said Le Hang, another fan. She said their team had to move to Malaysian fans’ area to watch the match after they were spared some space there.

"I sat in the same area with Malaysian fans, so I clearly saw that many Malaysian fans had encroached to the area of Vietnamese fans. It was only after I left that I came to know that many people could not enter and had to leave," said Nguyen Thien Quoc.

According to the organizers, Vietnamese fans were assigned to sit in a separate area to avoid any conflicts with Malaysian fans.

Malaysia’s New Straits Times reported that 3,000 stadium seats were allocated to Vietnamese fans, but around 500 people were denied entry. Part of their area was opened for Malaysian fans, a police officer told the New Straits Times.

Nguyen Phong, working for a tour company in Bukit Jalil, blamed the lack of seats on Vietnamese living in Malaysia.

"Some local tour guides say that many Vietnamese residing in Malaysia bought tickets and arranged to sit with Malaysian fans, but they moved to the tier arranged for the visiting team’s fans. This is one of the reasons that many people with tickets could not enter the stadium."

Thousands of Vietnamese fans traveled in the rain to the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Malaysia to cheer the Vietnamese men’s football team in the first leg of AFF Suzuki Cup final.

The match ended in a 2-2 draw. The two teams will compete in the second leg of the final match on December 15 at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Vietnam can win the trophy if they can secure an outright win, a 1-1 or goalless draw, because of the two away goals they scored in the first leg. The team were champions in 2008.

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