Hanoi authorities are likely to ban spectators from My Dinh National Stadium which will host Vietnam’s matches against Japan and Saudi Arabia in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers in November.
A leader of the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports told a meeting held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism on Wednesday morning that from the capital administration’s point of view, those two matches will take place behind closed doors.
Vietnam had also hosted Australia at My Dinh National Stadium without spectators in their qualifying matchup last month, when the Golden Stars lost 0-1 to the Socceroos.
The sports ministry and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) had sought permission from the People’s Committee of Hanoi and relevant agencies to allow fans to enter My Dinh at either 30 or 45 percent of its 40,000 seating capacity to support Vietnam in their games against Japan on November 11 and Saudi Arabia on November 16.
The proposal won approvals from the relevant agencies but a thumb down from Hanoi authorities.
“The People’s Committee of Hanoi has yet to issue an official document on the prohibition, it’s merely a statement from a leader of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports during the meeting,” said a leader of the VFF on Wednesday morning.
“This is very unfortunate because no spectators mean that the Vietnamese team will lose the home advantage.
“The VFF will report this issue to Prime Minister [Pham Minh Chinh].”
The clashes with Japan and Saudi Arabia will be Vietnam’s fifth and sixth games in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, contested by two groups of six teams.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for next year’s tournament while the third-place teams will play for a spot via an inter-continental play-off.
Vietnam lost all their first four games, most recently 1-3 to Oman, and are at the bottom of Group B with zero points.
This is the first time Vietnam have made it this far in the World Cup qualifiers.
The squad will resume training on October 25 as per their schedule.
Vietnam has grappled with a serious COVID-19 outbreak since late April, recording almost 860,000 infections and over 21,000 deaths.
Hanoi has detected more than 4,000 cases in this wave, with the vast majority of the adult population having got at least one vaccine dose.
The country had logged only 1,570 locally-transmitted infections in total in the previous three waves.
Daily infections have slowed down nationwide in the last few weeks but about 3,000 patients are still confirmed every day.