Foreign referees hired for last two V. League weeks

By Nguyen My   October 1, 2019 | 06:51 am PT
Foreign referees hired for last two V. League weeks
Binh Duong players (L) react at referee Truong Hong Vu's decision to disallow their goal against Viettel at a V.League 1 match in Hanoi, September 20, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
The Vietnam Professional Football Jsc. will hire two Malaysian referees to officiate matches in the last two rounds of V. League 1 on October 19 and 23.

The decision was taken after a referee made a critical mistake in a recent match between Viettel and Binh Duong.

Two Malaysian referees, Suhaizi Shukri and Mohd Amirul Izwan Yaacob, have been recommended to Vietnam Football Federation by the Football Association of Malaysia. They are both FIFA elite referees.

Since Hanoi FC have successfully defended their V. League 1 championship, the focus is now on the relegation battle. With the tournament going down to the wire in the last two match weeks, competent referees have become crucially important.

The two Malaysian referees will control three matches which can determine the relegation list - Nam Dinh vs Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa vs Viettel in round 25 on October 19, and Hoang Anh Gia Lai vs Khanh Hoa in round 26 on October 23.

This is not the first time Malaysian referees were invited to officiate a V. League 1 match. The match between Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa in 2017 and Can Tho and Nam Dinh in 2018 also had Malaysian referees in charge.

However, after FIFA referee Truong Hong Vu's serious mistake in the 24th round, the decision to appoint which referees now draws huge public attention.

On September 20, when Viettel played Binh Duong at home in Hanoi, Vu made a controversial decision is disallowing Nguyen Tien Linh’s goal despite having previously awarded Binh Duong a freekick, from which the striker scored. Viettel got away with a 2 - 1 victory, which significantly affects the relegation battle as the club was one of those fighting to remain in V. League 1.

After the match, Vu acknowledged his mistake. VFF’s head of referees, Duong Van Hien, stated that it was a critical mistake to make and Vu would be punished.

Viettel and Hai Phong now both have 30 points, followed by Hoang Anh Gia Lai (29 points), Nam Dinh (28 points) and Thanh Hoa (25 points). Last season’s runner-ups Khanh Hoa are the closest to relegation with 24 points.

The club finishing last will be automatically relegated to V. League 2 while the second last will head to the playoff with Pho Hien FC, the runnerup in V. League 2, for a spot in the top-flight next season.

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