V-League 1, which is Vietnam's top-flight football tournament, has announced all its upcoming fixtures will be postponed through the end of March, becoming the latest among several other cultural, sporting and entertaiment events canceled or delayed in the country due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.
Vietnam Professional Football Co. (VPF), which has organized the professional tournaments of Vietnam’s football since 2011, publicized the postponement on Sunday evening, citing the COVID-19 epidemic's complications.
The announcement came after the first two rounds of the tournament had taken place in empty stadiums over concerns about the possible community spread of the virus.
But despite the no-spectator measure taken by VPF, many football clubs expressed worry about their players as they still have to travel through airports and on buses for their upcoming matches, which imposes a high risk of COVID-19 infection.
Therefore, after a discussion with the Vietnam Football Federation and the General Department of Sports and Physical Training, VPF decided to push back the next rounds of V-League 1 regardless of losses that might result from the postponement.
The new schedule for the next rounds will be later decided by the VPF, taking the epidemic developments into consideration.
Earlier on March 13, the VPF had also delayed the start of the second-tier V.League 2 season to an unsettled date.
Vietnam has reported 57 cases of COVID-19 infections, with 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 26.
The 41 active cases, having been confirmed since March 6, include 17 foreigners – mostly Europeans – and 24 Vietnamese.
No fatality due to COVID-19 has been recorded in Vietnam so far.
Apart from delaying sporting events, including the hyped Formula One Grand Prix scheduled in Hanoi for April, Vietnam is also trying to restrict large gatherings by closing down tourist attractions and entertainment facilities in big cities in a bid to curb the COVID-19 spread.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 169,300 people and killed more than 6,500 globally, according to Ministry of Health statistics.