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Vietnam Football Federation penalizes club over midgame walk-off

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 13:28 GMT+7

After receiving stiff internal penalties for their part in the now notorious V-League 1 game in which they refused to play in protest of a penalty decision, Long An has had multiple sanctions imposed on them by the Vietnam Football Federation.

Long An members, including the club’s chairman, head coach, captain and goalkeeper, have taken action internally for their part in the 2-5 loss to Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday.

However the club had yet to pay the real price the scandalous match, whereby their goalkeeper refused to face up to the penalty-taker and players walked off the field in protest of a refereeing decision.

On Tuesday night, the VFF’s disciplinary division announced additional penalties against Long An, including cash fines and lengthy playing bans.

According to the VFF, club chairman Vo Thanh Nhiem, who stepped down on Monday, and coach Ngo Quang Sang, who was sacked the same day, are both banned from taking part in any football-related activities organized by the federation for the next 36 months.

Nhiem also has to pay a fine of VND20 million (US$893), and Sang, VND15 million ($670).

Huynh Quang Thanh, who was stripped of the captaincy on Monday, and keeper Minh Nhut, who turned his back on the penalty shot in Sunday’s match and then went on to let the hosts score two more easy goals, both received 24-month playing bans.

The ex-captain was also fined VND15 million, and the goalie, VND10 million ($446).

On top of these individual fines, Long An has also been ordered to pay VND100 million ($4,464) cash penalty.

Heavy-handed or not?

Nhiem, having decided to stop engaging in football after his resignation, said he had no comment on his penalty, but said that the sanction on ex-coach Sang is too heavy.

“Sang tried to get his players to return to the pitch and continue the game, rather than stand still and stop playing,” Nhiem told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“The 36-month ban is too severe on him.”

For his part, ex-captain Thanh said the two-year ban is the last nail on the coffin of his football career.

Huynh Quang Thanh (2nd. L) protests to the referee

Thirty-three –year-old Thanh’s contract was to expire by the end of the 2017-18 season.

 “I had been trying to stay in good form, hoping to be able to extend my contract by one year before retirement,” he said. “But I will accept this penalty and file no appeal.”

Goalkeeper Minh Nhut said he “has no idea what to do next” after receiving his 24-month ban.

Nhut had only begun playing for Long An under a one-year contract, and has “received only 50 percent of [my] transfer fee,” he said.

“As a footballer I know no other way to earn a livelihood,” he said.

“I just do not know what to do now.”

The VFF will have at least one supporter of its decisions -- Vo Quoc Thang, chairman of the VPF, the league’s operator.

“Prior to the league’s opening round, I warned all 14 teams and the referees that we would tighten discipline this season, and anyone who violated the rules would pay the price,” he said.

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