It was the first conference in which the government leader asked concerned agencies to have answers in details to meet people’s demands and raise national football to even higher levels.
The seminar was jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and the Vietnam Professional Football Company.
The conference also attracted many others involved in the game, such as coaches, referees, journalists and football fans.
During the five-hour conference, Dam pointed to different reasons leading to the limited number of spectators in the stands at almost all stadiums nationwide.
He noted that there had been dishonest and unclear games, and he asked leaders of the VFF to develop a response to these problems.
VFF Vice President Tran Quoc Tuan admitted that this was the correct analysis, and confirmed that the national football governing body would do its best to solve the problems and assure the strong development of the sport.
“Yes, there are problems, such as match fixing, violence and others. But VFF does not condone these and has made strong responses against these,” said Tuan.
“We said ‘No’ to negative activities and forever expelled players and referees who were involved in these problems. Here we can look at the match fixing cases in Ninh Binh and Long An, as examples,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Khanh Hai and head of the V.League organising board Nguyen Minh Ngoc agreed with his statements.
“We will work on the matter seriously in the 2018 season. The unfair-play and violent behaviour, as well as match fixing, will be strictly fined,” Ngoc said.
Dam said he appreciated these clear answers from the ministry and the VFF, but requested that these bodies must now take actions, following their statements, and they must inform the the public.
He also said the VFF was going to have their congress in the next few months. VFF should conduct a renewal to earn the people’s trust.
The quality of referees was also an important issue at the conference.
Head of the VFF’s Referee Council Nguyen Van Mui fielded many questions claiming that the council shielded their members, including those who made mistakes. An example was how referee Nguyen Trong Thu, son of Mui, was brought to court because of match fixing in the past, but is continuing to work in the V.League.
Responding to the accusations, Mui said the council did not screen anyone. These referees could come back to work because they received permission from the VFF.
He also confirmed that the council worked based upon rules, but admitted that, currently, the prestige of being a referee has declined.
"They have made more mistakes in recent years, causing a decrease in our prestige. We have been seeking suitable solutions, but it must be said that Vietnamese football is very complicated,” he said.
“Referees suffer from heavy pressure on the field. Teams always try to force them to change their decisions. If our officials cannot block this pressure, mistakes will happen. As a result, we really need strict fines for extreme reactions against referees,” he said.
Deputy PM Dam also raised a question about the strategy’s target to develop football, and how it was carried out.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said these targets were adequate and did not need to be adjusted. However, Vietnam has not reached any of these targets, and he took responsibility for that.
Head of the National Administration of Sports, Vuong Bich Thang, said involved agencies were given their tasks to perform, and the administration’s annually monitoring found positive results. However, the overseeing was not as strict as is necessary.
Regarding the target of winning the Southeast Asian Games for the first time, Thang said VFF and the administration were focused on youth football training, which was considered the foundation of developing the sport. The VFF took full responsibility for this task. The ministry of culture and sports also paid expenses for training youth squads, hiring experienced foreign experts and sending them to intensive practice courses abroad.
The squads from U11 to U21 had recently earned good results and raised their record in international competitions. The ministry would also pay more to lift Vietnam in the coming SEA Games.
Dam asked the two ministries at the seminar to strengthen their cooperation to develop school football. Players were asked to play with discipline and develop the spirit to play fairly.
He said that to develop honest and attractive football competitions, a routine was needed. But it must follow the rules recognised worldwide. Football should be developed from the amateur level to youth, to professionals and then the national teams.
Players must be trained in not only skills and techniques, but also in ethics, nutrition, and in their educational backgrounds.