|HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan (R) encouraging HCMC FC’s coach Lu Dinh Tuan at the meeting with his team on August 27 (Photo: SGGP)|
On this occasion, the city’s leader urged action to improve the reputation of the two teams.
At present, both of them have faired poorly in football competitions and play in the lower leagues.
While HCMC FC was relegated from the V-League to the First Division, Saigon United faired even worse and dropped from the First Division to the Second Division.
The situation has hurt city football fans and worried the Ho Chi Minh City Football Federation (HFF).
At the meeting with Mr. Quan, the president of Vietnam Steel Corporation, Dau Van Hung, affirmed that his company will continue to sponsor HCMC FC, with a hope to improving the team’s image.
Nguyen Hai Anh, president of Saigon United, believed that the deduction of six points by the Vietnam Football Federation was the main reason for their relegation.
The federation relegated Quang Ngai FC from the First Division due to walking out of a match against Sai Gon United on July 25. However, they did not count other teams’ points gained from draws or wins against Quang Ngai.
After listening to the ideas from both two teams, Mr. Quan said: “The city does not lack talent but the most important is that talented people need to join their hands together in work. Besides, the city does not lack money for football since the city approved last year’s budget for the teams at VND240 billion (US$13 million), more than two times the anticipated budget by the team.
"The city’s People’s Committee partially blamed itself for the situation, as HCMC FC is part of the city. However, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism must recognize mistakes and learn experiences from talented coaches. This would help them check their operations and reconsider better treatment toward footballers and coaching staff."
In the discussion to improve the quality of the teams, Luong Trung The, general manager of Southern Steel - Saigon Port Football, suggested the city’s leaders to approve three requests, including an budget of VND10 billion ($540,000) for Saigon United to hire outstanding players, a plan to promote the team image and build a multi-functioning sports center with a campus for coaches and footballers.
The new sports center could be built at the current location of Saigon United‘s office, he added.
In feedback on Mr. The’s ideas, Mr. Quan said: “I understand Mr. The’s ideas and will discuss them with my colleagues later. The city’s Party Committee and People’s Committee are looking forward to the report by HFF after their meeting with the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and two teams, HCMC FC and Saigon United, next week.
"I also agree with next year’s goal of HCMC FC to return to the V-League. We must prove to football lovers that our city is the biggest center of culture, economy and sports."