Vietnam’s football authority has agreed to send its national team to this year’s King’s Cup, an international football tournament organized in Thailand by the country’s football association (FAT).
Vietnam will compete against India, China, and hosts Thailand in the 46th iteration of the Thai tournament, set to run from June 5 to 8, Tran Quoc Tuan, the vice-chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), confirmed on Wednesday.
Founded in 1968, the King’s Cup has been held every year since, with the exception of 1983, 1985, 2008, 2011, and 2014.
The VFF previously rejected two separate invitations to the tournament, citing scheduling issues.
The FAT initially planned to organize King’s Cup 2019 in March and asked Vietnam for its participation, but the VFF turned down the offer due to their joining in the AFF–EAFF Champions Trophy match against South Korea on March 26.
The AFF–EAFF Champions Trophy is a biennial football match organized by the ASEAN Football Federation and the East Asian Football Federation between the reigning champions of the two main Asian international football competitions, the AFF Championship and the EAFF E-1 Football Championship.
After the first rejection, the FAT decided to reschedule the King’s Cup to June and made a second invitation, but the VFF again turned it down, explaining that there were still scheduling conflicts.
Wednesday’s announcement that Vietnam would participate in the competition caught Vietnamese football fans off guard.
During a press conference, Tuan stated that the VFF has finally accepted the invitation after consulting Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang Seo and Vietnam Professional Football (VPF), the organizer of the top-flight V.League 1.
“VPF has agreed to reschedule some of their games so that the VFF would be able to accept the invitation,” Tuan shared.
Tuan explained that participation in King’s Cup 2019 is considered an important preparation for Vietnam ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
As the King’s Cup 2019 will take place within the FIFA International Match Calendar, the results of the Thai tourney directly affect participating teams’ points on the FIFA World Rankings.
Vietnam’s only showing at the King’s Cup was in 2006 when they finished second.