Vietnam to continue playing World Cup qualifiers in national stadium

By Lam Thoa   October 15, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
Vietnam to continue playing World Cup qualifiers in national stadium
My Dinh National Stadium will continue to be the venue of Vietnam's next home games in World Cup qualifiers. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Despite the proposal from Hai Phong FC to host upcoming World Cup qualifying games at their home ground Lach Tray, Vietnam will still play at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

"Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has discussed Hai Phong’s proposal. We appreciate Hai Phong’s willingness to host Vietnam’s home World Cup qualifiers. However, after evaluating the conditions of Lach Tray Stadium, it’s unfortunate that we cannot approve the proposal," a VFF official told VnExpress on Thursday.

"The pitch of Lach Tray looks nice after renovation. But the operation rooms didn't meet the standards of Asian Football Confederation, not to mention other issues like transportation and Covid-19 safety."

On Sept. 29, Hai Phong sent the proposal to VFF to host two home games of Vietnam against China on Feb. 1, 2022 and Oman on March 24, 2022, following comments on My Dinh Stadium’s poor quality after the game with Australia.

Club president Van Tran Hoan also affirmed all expenses would be covered if the games are hosted at Lach Tray Stadium and the national team would be awarded $44,000 for each game regardless the result.

Lach Tray was once considered one of the lowest-quality stadiums in Vietnam. However, Hai Phong has recently invested a lot of money into renovating the facility.

After the Australia game in My Dinh on Sept. 7, pitch conditions received criticism from Australian media and fans, with some even calling the stadium a "cow paddock".

After that, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Department of Physical Education and Sports, VFF and My Dinh Stadium management board hosted a meeting to plan the renovation of the stadium. Tran Duc Phan, deputy head of the Department of Physical and Sports said My Dinh Stadium is being revamped and upgraded for the World Cup qualifiers as well as SEA Games 31.

Vietnam are last in group B after four consecutive defeats. The team will play the next two games at home, against Japan on Nov. 11 and Saudi Arabia on the 16th. VFF is proposing to welcome fans into the stadium, around 20,000 people, of half the stadium's capacity, that have been fully vaccinated and tested negative for Covid-19 72 hours before the match.

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