Tuesday, 01/11/2022 08:17

The Local Game: An own goal from Borussia Dortmund

Jude Bellingham is unlikely to line up for Borussia Dortmund in Việt Nam. AFP/VNA Photo

Peter Cowan

Hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter has created all sorts of oddities around football schedules the world over this year, and Việt Nam is no exception.

The COVID-enforced disruptions to the qualifying process helped produce one of the strangest league schedules I’ve ever seen in Việt Nam, but there are still more oddities to come.

On November 30th, European club football heavyweights Borussia Dortmund will play the Vietnamese team in a friendly in Hà Nội.

Normally, the Bundesliga club would be gearing up for the always busy festive fixture period but as the World Cup starts 10 days prior to the fixture, they’re making the trip to Mỹ Đình Stadium.

The last club of Dortmund’s stature to play in Việt Nam was Manchester City back in 2015 so Vietnamese fans have been waiting a long time to see players of the quality the Germans will bring.

While the World Cup has changed when fixtures like this happen, sadly it hasn’t changed some of the more unsavoury aspects of big-time club football that Dortmund will bring to Việt Nam, namely greed.

According to numerous reports, the cheapest tickets for the fixture are going for VNĐ800,000 (US$32.19).

While that may not seem like an awful lot to pay to watch top-tier players strut their stuff, with a bit more context it’s clear local fans are getting the short end of the stick.

First of all, to watch a Dortmund game in Germany alongside the famous ‘Yellow Wall’ section goes for about 18.50 pounds, or just over VNĐ450,000, according to German news outlet DW.

Almost doubling the price of a ticket may make sense if Vietnamese fans were going to see the best Dortmund have to offer, but let’s face it, a ‘B’ team will be making its way to Việt Nam.

Stars like Jude Bellingham, Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard and several more are almost certain to be in Qatar representing their countries instead of clashing with Quế Ngọc Hải et al in Hà Nội.

So as per usual, a European team is coming to a country and charging people of a lower income bracket over the odds for an inferior product than they would serve up at home.

In 2011 when Arsenal came to Việt Nam, they made headlines and won plaudits for their treatment of the ‘Running Man’ Vũ Xuân Tiến, who ran alongside the team coach for miles as it traversed the country.

Tiến was invited onto the bus to take photos with all the players and then manager Arsene Wenger, as well as given VIP tickets to the friendly Arsenal were playing in Hà Nội.

Few remember the score of that game or probably even which Arsenal stars played, but the respect Tiến was given lives on.

Other visiting teams would do well to learn from that story – there’s more to be gained from treating Vietnamese fans with respect than as a money-making opportunity. VNS

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