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Việt Nam urges FIFA, AFC to improve World Cup referee quality

Update: 11-09-2021 | 15:00:24

The Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) has officially sent a request to the world football governing body (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) about improving the quality of referees at the 2022 World Cup third-round qualification.

It is a reaction to a controversial decision by referee Abdulrahman Ibrahim Al-Jassim to deny Việt Nam a penalty despite VAR assistance during their 1-0 loss to Australia on September 7.

Việt Nam's midfielder Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy's shot hit defender Ryhan Grant's arm in the 28th minute of the match, but no penalty was given.

After the match, Việt Nam head coach Park Hang-seo said he regretted that Việt Nam were not given a penalty but did not complain.

However, Vietnamese Elite FIFA referees Ngô Duy Lân and Hoàng Ngọc Hà, VFF's head of Referee Council Dương Văn Hiền, former national striker Thạch Bảo Khanh and former Australian defender Andy Bernal all agreed that it was a spot kick for the hosts.

"It is clear that there was a doubtful situation when VAR officials raised their voice. Watching it from different angles, we can see that the ball touched his arm which is open and make him abnormally bigger. It is a penalty and a card for the defender. But the main referee is the one who makes the final decisions," said Lân.

In the letter, VFF's vice president Trần Quốc Tuấn said he appreciated FIFA and AFC for their guidance and helping to organise the match at the Mỹ Đình Stadium amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuấn said that Việt Nam supported and praised the two agencies' VAR application at the qualifier. And it was the first time that the VAR was used in the country.

VAR was expected to help referees make accurate decisions to ensure fairness.

However, Tuấn and VFF believe that Al-Jassim refused a clear penalty for Việt Nam and it strongly affected the result of the match.

As a responsible member, Việt Nam hopes to play a part in building and protecting the fairness and prestige of all tournaments organised by both FIFA and the AFC.

Việt Nam requested both bodies to strengthen their activities to improve referee quality so that their work at the coming matches would be better, and to ensure a successful tournament.

Việt Nam will have one month of preparation before their next match against China. The two teams are at bottom of Group B on zero points after losing their first two matches.

The game, which is considered China's home tie, will held on October 7 at Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah, the UAE.

Five days later, Việt Nam play Oman at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat. — VNS

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