“Thousands of fans poured into stadiums in Vietnam on June 5 as the country resumed top-flight soccer without social distancing measures or curbs on crowd sizes, owing to its success in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus,” the UK-based media outlet stated.
Previously, all professional football tournaments locally had been suspended since March due to the global impact of the recent pandemic.
With effective measures being implemented by the Government to control the spread of the virus, the National Cup became the first round of sporting fixtures to return on May 23, whilst the third round of the V.League 1 2020 season came back with much fanfare on June 5.
“The stadium in Nam Dinh was close to its 30,000 capacity on June 5 as the home side lost 2-1 to visitors Viettel in one of three opening V. League 1 matches, where spectators stood shoulder-to-shoulder with few face masks to be seen,” according to the Reuters.
“Hand sanitiser was available as stewards performed temperature checks on fans, who were asked to wear masks as they entered,” the article added.
Reuters also interviewed Viettel FC’s fan Dinh Van Tam who said, “If we were scared of the virus we wouldn’t have come. The measures taken to fight the virus were good to keep our health safe, that’s why everybody is having fun.”
Following the fixture, the captain of the Vietnamese national team Que Ngoc Hai of Viettel expressed how wonderful it was to see a full stadium.
“I’m not saying this to compare us with other countries, but Vietnamese football has returned after the COVID outbreak, showing how well Vietnam has fought the virus,” he told Reuters.
Recent months has seen the country win praise for its aggressive testing scheme and a centralised quarantine programme on a huge scale, putting it on course to revive its economy sooner when compared to other nations, the news agency confirmed.
The decision by the V.League 1 to pick up exactly where it left off is in stark contrast to the trend emerging globally of countries attempting to restart leagues without supporters.
Moreover, many foreign leagues have been discussing changes to rules in a bid to handle fixture backlogs, the lack of atmosphere due to fans not being permitted to enter stadiums, along with fears about supporters gathering outside of grounds, Reuters concluded.