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Vietnamese fans brave rain, cold for tickets to AFF Championship’s group stage game

Monday, November 12, 2018, 16:32 GMT+7
Vietnamese fans brave rain, cold for tickets to AFF Championship’s group stage game
Fans jostle outside the My Dinh National Stadium fence, waiting to buy tickets to the Vietnam – Malaysia match on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Hundreds of Vietnamese football fans defied rain and cold to queue in front of the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Sunday morning, hoping to be able to buy a ticket to watch the 2018 AFF Championship game between Vietnam and Malaysia at the venue later this week.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) started to put tickets for Thursday's game on sale at the My Dinh arena at 8:00 am on Sunday.

But hours before that, diehard fans, donning raincoats and jackets due to an early morning rain, already set up camps outside the venue, hoping to be the first to reach the four ticket counters there.

Nguyen Quang Sang, a football lover in Long Bien District, Hanoi, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that hundreds of people had already got in line when he came to the stadium at 4:00 am.

“It was raining so we had to wear raincoats while waiting along the iron fence in front of the stadium,” Sang told Tuoi Tre.

“This is the first time I have gone to buy football tickets but it is really exhausting,” he said.

Fans crowd outside the My Dinh Stadium’s fence, waiting to buy tickets for Vietnam – Malaysia match on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Fans jostle outside the My Dinh National Stadium fence, waiting to buy tickets to the Vietnam – Malaysia match on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

As observed by Tuoi Tre, around 1,000 fans had lined up in front of My Dinh by the time the ticket sales officially opened.

Even though it was not really a big crowd, police officers were dispatched to the scene to keep order, as some of the fans did not get in line.

It is a surprise that a group-stage game of a regional football competition could spark such a ticket fever in Vietnam. 

While it is not uncommon for Vietnamese fans to camp outside the My Dinh National Stadium for tickets whenever their team play a home game despite the weather, the previous ticket fevers only occurred when the Golden Stars were going to play big games, such as the semi-final or final of the AFF Championship, or Asia-level matches.

According to VFF, 9,000 tickets were assigned for direct sales to football fans on Sunday. The tickets had been sold out by the end of the morning.                                                                                                                      

Each person was only allowed to buy a maximum of four tickets for the Vietnam-Malaysia clash.

The tickets were priced at VND150,000, VND200,000, VND300,000 and VND 400,000. (US$1 = VND23,255)

Fans crowd outside the My Dinh Stadium’s fence, waiting to buy tickets for Vietnam – Malaysia match on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Fans jostle outside the My Dinh National Stadium fence, waiting to buy tickets to the Vietnam – Malaysia match on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Selling tickets is always a headache for VFF whenever Vietnam are to play a home game.

The governing body did try to open different sales channels, such as via the Internet or through orders from state companies and organizations, to prevent long queues at the stadium.

However, as it turned out that many companies and organizations bought and collected tickets only to sell them at much higher prices in the black market, VFF still has to allocate a certain number of tickets for selling directly to fans at the stadium.

The AFF Championship is held every two years by the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF). The 2018 edition will run from November 8 to December 15 with newly updated rules.

Vietnam are in Group A with Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The Golden Stars beat Laos 3-0 in their opener on Thursday last week.

Although AFF Cup is not a major trophy as FIFA only recognized it in their official competition system in 2016, the Vietnamese still pay attention to each step of their beloved team at this Southeast Asian football competition as if they were playing in the FIFA World Cup.

Fans push and do not wait in line outside the My Dinh Stadium’s fence on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Fans push and do not wait in line outside the My Dinh National Stadium fence on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A lucky man successfully buys the very first tickets at the My Dinh Stadium on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A lucky man successfully buys the very first tickets at the My Dinh National Stadium on November 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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