Thanh Hoa FC announced Wednesday they would not continue their V. League 2020 campaign, blaming the decision on Covid-19 and a flailing budget.
"Thanh Hoa Football Club will not participate in the remainder of V. League 2020. We will let the coaching board and players go home Thursday," said Thanh Hoa FC president Nguyen Van De.
De said he has sent documents to Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and Vietnam Football Joint Stock Company (VPF) to confirm Thanh Hoa cannot continue the season.
After VPF decided to postpone V. League 2020 for the third time this year on July 26 due to Covid-19, several clubs including Thanh Hoa proposed canceling the league. However, VPF refused, citing respect for sponsorship contracts and the necessity for national team players to maintain their form. It said it would only call off the league under government request.
"I think V. League should end here. Covid-19 has spread to many localities, making it too dangerous to host sporting events. Besides, we don’t know when the pandemic will end. If Thanh Hoa is kept waiting, the club’s budget will dry up, making it impossible to play next season," De maintained.
He said many clubs are facing difficulties and are still waiting for financial aid.
If Thanh Hoa fails to retract its decision, it may face a heavy penalty. According to VFF regulations, if a club drops out of V. League, it will be demoted to the third division and fined VND300 million ($12,960). The club’s management may also be banned from football for five years.
On August 20, 2013, President of Saigon FC Nguyen Xuan Thuy announced the club would not play the last two V. League fixtures to protest alleged match-fixing, which cost the club four points. The club was fined VND100 million and demoted, with Thuy receiving a temporary ban from football.
A year later, the Vissai Ninh Binh owner Hoang Manh Truong decided to quit V. League after nine of its players partook in AFC Cup 2014 match-rigging. The club was demoted to third division and dissolved in 2015.
Commenting on the risk of Thanh Hoa being demoted, De said it won't happen.
"I carefully read the regulations and consulted a lawyer before deciding to exit the season. Nobody can fine or push Thanh Hoa to third division next year," he affirmed.
Thanh Hoa commenced V. League 2020 with three losses and subsequently hit the bottom. After replacing foreign coach Fabio Lopez, they gained 14 points to climb to eighth spot. However, V. League got postponed after the new Covid-19 outbreak hit the country, just as the club had managed to regain its form.
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Although Quang Nam FC has yet to abandon the league, it has allowed all players to return home. Club president Nguyen Hup has since confirmed it is running out of budget.
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