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Vietnam fan zones promise lively atmosphere for Euro 2016

Vietnam fan zones promise lively atmosphere for Euro 2016

Thursday, June 09, 2016, 15:32 GMT+7

Fan zones for the 2016 UEFA European Championship are not something exclusive to Paris: similar areas have been designated in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring province of Binh Duong to serve diehard supporters during the event’s kick-off this weekend.

The Vietnamese fan zones promise a lively and exciting atmosphere to catch the Euro 2016 matches which take place at 8:00 pm (Vietnam time), being broadcast on giant screens for thousands of football aficionados.

The two areas will open to fans from June 11 to 26 at the Phan Dinh Phung Sports House in Ho Chi Minh City and the Becamex Trade Center in Binh Duong, under a program sponsored by Saigon Beer and launched by TLT Sports Marketing Corp.

According to organizers, the admission-free fan zones will treat fans to nine 8:00 pm matches on a 32 square meter screen, plus other cheering activities comparable to real fan areas in Paris.

“Outsides the sporting house and the trade center are booths where fans can get free face paint to represent their favorite teams,” Nguyen Tran Quy Ngoc, a TLT representative, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

The fan zones will open two hours prior to the game for fans to participate in activities, including predicting the result of the first half in order to win various prizes, Ngoc said.

Famous local journalists are also slated to participate in pre-match commentary sessions.

“The areas are designed to replicate major fan zones in Western countries and create the most exciting atmosphere possible for local fans,” she said.

Ngoc added that the fan zones will be held indoors due to the rainy season in Ho Chi Minh City. The Phan Dinh Phung venue is capable of hosting 2,000 people, whereas the trade center in Binh Duong is a much bigger space, Ngoc said.

Another program will also take place at the Quan Khu 7 Stadium in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, starting at 11:00 pm on Saturday night, three hours ahead of the opener between hosts France and Romania. The free-of-charge program also consists of various activities for football aficionados.

Football fans in Hanoi may be jealous of those in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong as no such fan zone will be opened in the Vietnamese capital.

While the Euro 2016 opening is only a couple of days away, no company or organization has ever contacted the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports to seek permission to establish a fan area, director To Van Dong told Tuoi Tre on Wednesday.

“Even without a fan zone, local coffee shops will certainly be full of fans, and we encourage the opening of such small-scale ‘fan zones’,” he added.

Euro 2016, the 15th edition of the quadrennial UEFA European Championship, will take place in France from June 11 to July 11 (Vietnam time), contested for the first time by 24 teams, instead of the 16-team format in use since 1996.

Due to time zone difference, most of the matches air quite late in Vietnam, 11:00 pm and 2:00 am, with only nine games scheduled for 8:00 pm.

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