The Shocking Truth of V-League 2007

Professional football clubs are meant to strive for the championship title but there is scant evidence of any real effort in the 2007 V-League apart from Becamex Binh Duong, which has won the premiership by a wide margin.

Becamex Binh Duong has won the 2007 championship title

Vietnam Football Federation president Mr. Nguyen Trong Hy was shocked at the poor performances of the players, and by their bad sportsmanship, and he vented his displeasure at a recent press conference.

“I could see that many of the Ha Noi ACB men didn’t want to score at all in the crucial match against Hoang Anh Gia Lai,” he told reporters, referring to last weekend’s encounter.

Perhaps the Ha Noi ACB players were unlucky not to score. Then again, they could have been dreaming of their big bonus from the club if they had to compete in the play-off to avoid relegation and managed to win.

And that was just one match in a season tarred by controversy and allegations of match fixing. The whole story of V-League 2007 is the same sorry saga writ large.

Top-flight clubs like Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Da Nang were intentionally in and out of form throughout the season, or so it seemed.

It’s off-putting for a top team to play in the Asian Champions League, a bitter experience as Dong Tam Long An, Da Nang, Hoa Phat Ha Noi and Binh Dinh know all too well.

It should be noted that the 2007 premiers Becamex Binh Duong didn’t compete in the regional championship, but they will next year. Perhaps they will find it as physically and financially draining as the others did, and will change their V-League strategy accordingly.

The heavy burden of competing in the Asian league explains why seven of the strongest among the fourteen V-League clubs just wanted to avoid relegation.

Mr. Hy stated in no uncertain terms: “V-League is still unclean!” while the league’s chairman, Mr. Duong Nghiep Khoi, said: “V-League 2007 was clean!” No suggestion of partisanship there.

Was V-League 2007 not clean? In a way it’s a rhetorical question, but only insiders know the whole truth.

By Yen Nhi – Compiled by Huu Tho

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