The Vietnam Football Federation has only itself to blame for the current controversy raging over TV telecast rights for Super League games.
VFF early last year signed a 20-year contract with the telecommunications and media company called the An Vien Group for VND6 billion (US$285,000) per year. The contract has been rejected by the Vietnam Professional Football (VPF) JSC, which was established last month to take over the job of organizing the nation’s professional football competitions.
VFF ordered VPF to execute the contract with AVG, but the company has refused on the grounds that the federation had not asked the clubs for their opinion before signing it.
VFF chairman Nguyen Trong Hy signed a communication sent to the VPF on Wednesday that says, “VFF’s authorization for VPF is valid only when VPF is qualified as VFF’s representative. That is, VPF must meet the following requirements: 1) VPF becomes a member agency of VFF; 2) VPF completes signing the document to receive authorization from VFF to organize professional competitions.”
The document indicates that VFF has slapped itself in the face by saying its authorization for VPF is not valid yet. In fact, it was VPF, not VFF, that organized the first round of the country’s top-tier Super League last weekend.
So, how can VFF still claim its primary right over the organization of the professional competitions as well as ownership of other rights related to the competitions including TV telecast rights.
Furthermore, since the first General Meeting of VPF on December 14 last year, VPF has asked VFF several times to complete the transfer agreement but VPF vice chairman Nguyen Duc Kien said, “VFF has been slow in completing the administrative procedures, deliberately delaying the transfer to us. Therefore, VFF is to blame, not VPF.”
At its annual General Meeting last month, VFF officials agreed to accept VPF as its member. In the draft regulations on professional football that VFF sent to the General Department of Physical Training and Sports for approval, VFF added an article saying that VPF is its member.
VPF chairman Vo Quoc Thang has said that authorized government agencies will decide whether VPF or VFF and AVG are right.
Thang said Wednesday that he would send a document to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Thursday.
VPF has said it wants the contract between VFF and AVG to be made clear in order to ensure that interests and benefits of the TV viewers, the TV stations, the clubs and VFF are ensured.
It should be remembered that VFF is the biggest stakeholder in VPF with 35.4 percent of its shares. That is, when profits are made, VFF gets a bigger share than any other club.
So, why doesn’t VFF want to protect its benefits? Is it because of any other benefit that certain officials of VFF stand to gain that makes them ignore the benefit for the federation as a whole?
The General Department of Physical Training and Sports of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked VFF to clarify its contract with AVG. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has also asked the federation to make clear the provisions of the contract.
In its latest document, VFF complains that VPF does not respect it. But when all the VFF-related events in the past are put together, it appears that the federation does not respect itself, nor does it respect the public.
According to a source, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the General Department of Physical Training and Sports are likely to ask VFF to terminate its contract with AVG, with the latter given the opportunity to negotiate a new deal with the VPF.
The need of the hour is to put this controversy behind as soon as possible and ensure long-term benefits for the development of Vietnamese football.