Vietnam confident of retaining coach Park despite huge salary demand

By Lam Thoa   June 20, 2019 | 01:53 am PT
Vietnam confident of retaining coach Park despite huge salary demand
Coach Park Hang-seo's contract with VFF will expire in January 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Vietnam’s Korean football coach Park Hang-seo’s contract is almost certain to be renewed when it ends next January despite a steep increase in salary.

"Fans don’t need to worry too much about coach Park Hang-seo’s contract," Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) President Le Khanh Hai told correspondents on Tuesday.

"The chance of signing a new contract is very high. There are no signs from either side that the deal won’t work out."

Park’s contract with the VFF expires on January 31, 2020, but there have been no extension talks yet. The coach is now paid $20,000 a month but his agency wants that to be hiked to $100,000 in a new contract based on his success with the team in the last two years.

Under coach Park, Vietnam were runners-up at the AFC U23 Championship in January 2018, finished fourth in the Asian Games last August, won the 2018 AFF Cup, and entered the last eight in the 2019 Asian Cup.

Lee Dong-jun, Park’s agent, said that the coach wants to continue his journey with Vietnamese football and negotiations for a new contract will begin next week.

"Park wants to continue working with Vietnam. That's certain," Lee said, dismissing rumors that he was considering offers from Thailand, China or South Korea.

However, he said, negotiations on the contract will be kept secret.

The VFF does not seem to consider the salary a hurdle.

Hai said: "Money is not a challenge in negotiating a new contract with coach Park. Football is always the focus of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. [Besides,] I believe enterprises will support the VFF in paying coach Park's salary."

Payment to Park so far came from Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group which invests in property, agriculture and energy, and owner of prominent Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC.

Hai said VFF would try to wrap up the contract extension as soon as possible so that Park could focus on his work. The team are now preparing for the 2019 SEA Games and 2022 World Cup qualification later this year.

Vietnam reached out to coach Park after coach Nguyen Huu Thang resigned following a poor show in 2017 SEA Games, when Vietnam ended in the group stage. The VFF then decided to hire a foreign coach and its initial target was Japanese Sekizuka Takashi, but he called off the deal at the last minute.

The VFF then switched its focus to Park, who was struggling to get his club Changwon City FC out of the relegation zone in South Korea’s Third Division, and the rest is history.

Besides the salary, he also gets a bonus for tournaments and is provided with a house and car. Coaching Vietnam has also fetched him a number of advertising deals from fast food to banks.

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