Assistant referee sues goalkeeper for alleged V. League assault

By Lam Thoa   April 15, 2021 | 11:33 pm PT
Assistant referee sues goalkeeper for alleged V. League assault
A video screenshot shows HCMC FC goalkeeper Nguyen Thanh Thang arguing with assistant referee Nguyen Le Nguyen Thanh after a V League game on April 12, 2021.
Nguyen Le Nguyen Thanh has taken legal action against HCMC FC goalkeeper Nguyen Thanh Thang, whom he claims headbutted him in the face, as a matter of honor.

On Thursday, the head of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Disciplinary Committee Vu Xuan Thanh said he had carefully reviewed the altercation after the 1-1 draw between Thanh Hoa FC and HCMC. Since match footage confirmed no instance of goalkeeper Thang headbutting assistant referee Thanh in the face as claimed, the goalie has been suspended for only three games and fined VND15 million ($651.75) for opposing the referees.

The VFF Disciplinary Committee conclusion has raised suspicions over Thanh’s claim that goalkeeper Thang had headbutted him in the face, causing him to lose a tooth.

However, Thanh refuses to let the case rest.

"The headbutting happened, that's all I can say. I have authorized an attorney to deal with the case. I'm not surprised by their stance," Thanh said.

Thanh also reported the case to the Thanh Hoa Province police.

"I will pursue this to the end since I cannot accept the fact that a player who assaulted me was only suspended for three games and fined VND15 million. I’m tired of people thinking that I lied about the incident. I have never slandered anyone in my life. For me, honor always comes first," he said.

In the last additional minute of the V. League game between Thanh Hoa and HCMC on Monday, Thanh noticed a foul committed by HCMC and informed main referee Nguyen Viet Duan. From a free kick on the flank, Thanh Hoa scored an equalizer thanks to Trinh Van Loi's header.

When the game ended, Thang and his teammates surrounded the referees, especially Thanh, accusing them of unfairly giving Thanh Hoa too much additional time after full-time and a chance to equalize in the dying seconds. The police had to escort the referees out safely.

A day after the game, Thanh went to the hospital to check his loose tooth, which would have to be replaced at a cost of about VND30 million ($1,300).

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