A number of football experts in Vietnam have expressed their dissatisfaction with the extended breaks in V-League 1 play, the country’s top professional football league, due to international call-ups. The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has set a schedule for March that includes the U20 Vietnamese team’s participation in the final round of the 2023 AFC U20 Asia Cup, the first call-up of Vietnam U23s for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, the 2023 National Cup, and FIFA Days for international matches.

This schedule means that teams in the 2023 V-League 1, which is held every weekend from February to August, will be obliged to allow their players to take two lengthy breaks from late February to early April and from mid April to mid May. These breaks pose challenges for club coaches who are concerned about the impact on their players’ performance.

Nguyen Duc Thang, coach of TopenLand Binh Dinh FC, the league leaders, has been addressing this issue since 2017 but the situation still persists, leaving clubs with no choice but to adapt. Vu Hong Viet, coach of Nam Dinh FC, who is in third place, agrees, saying that the V-League 1 teams have already had to endure a long break to prioritize the national team’s schedule, and now additional breaks due to the U20 team’s schedule are highly inappropriate. Both coaches believe that clubs should voice their concerns and be involved in arranging the league schedule.

Chu Dinh Nghiem, coach of sixth-placed Hai Phong FC, is disappointed that players have to take a nearly 50-day break just as they are getting into form after the first four rounds of the league. He believes that after the break, coaches will need to reassess their plans while players will have to regain their form and rhythm.

Nguyen Thanh Cong, coach of seventh-placed Hong Linh Ha Tinh FC, considers the breaks really inconvenient as they affect all aspects of the teams, including game plans and finances.

However, some coaches see the upcoming long break as an opportunity for their teams to improve their gameplay and tactics.

The 2023 V-League 1 season is the last season the top-tier league will be played from February to August. Starting from the 2023-24 season, the tournament will follow the schedule of European football leagues, from October or November 2023 to June 2024, and will resume the two-legged format. The change in format was recommended by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to align with the schedule of Asian and Southeast Asian tournaments. It is expected that clubs will face challenges and disadvantages during this transition.

In contrast, the schedule of the Thai League 1, the top level of the Thai football league system, remains unchanged. The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) proposed to end the 2022-23 season earlier to facilitate the Thai U23 team’s preparations for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, but this plan was rejected by the clubs. In the past, the U23 Thai team also faced difficulties during the delayed 2021 Southeast Asian Games as Thai League 1 clubs did not release players for call-ups.

To stay updated with the latest news about Vietnam, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.