Vietnam fans furious at overbooked Bukit Jalil for final first leg

Vietnam might have escaped Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur with two away goals in a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 final, but the nation’s fans were not at all happy how things panned out during the night. 

And the source of their displeasure did not come from any incident that took place on the pitch in a heated final encounter, but rather from how things panned out off the field in what was otherwise a majestic night of football action for both the sets of fans and neutrals as well.

Problems began pretty early in the evening as the Vietnam fans made their way to the stands of Bukit Jalil National Stadium. The stadium has a capacity of 87,411, but the section which houses the visiting team’s fans only had close to 3,000 seats available.

However, as the Vietnam fans filled the stadium hours before the kickoff, the away section soon was packed to the rafters with some Golden Dragons fans not even having the space to move around. And it was evident that there were more fans with match tickets than the seats available.

It is learnt that the authorities, seeing the discomfort the Vietnamese fans were in, decided to remove the barriers in some areas of the stadium and allowed them to sit with Malaysian fans to ease the congestion. However, it is being reported now that there were even more fans who failed to get inside the stadium despite having a ticket.

Fans across the social media are making their displeasure heard. And a post in particular asking the Malaysian authorities to apologise to the Vietnam fans for all the difficulties they had to face during the first leg of the final between Malaysia and Vietnam at the Bukit Jalil.

“Such a beautiful match! Such a spirit of competition! Such a promising result! But we – all Vietnamese football fans – are extremely angry and vehemently oppose the unprofessional and shameful behavior of the Malaysian organisers of the football match between Vietnam – Malaysia at Bukit Jalil National Stadium last night,” said the post whose original author is not known.

“All Vietnamese airlines, tour operators, and thousands of football fans all PAID (not a small amount of) money to be there as audience of the match. …The Bukit Jalin National Stadium has a capacity of approximately 90,000 seats, but in some quirky way, you overbooked up to 100,000 seats; thus, the result is thousands of audience, mostly Vietnamese (with tickets) was locked outside the stadium in an endless anger.”

“When we asked your police for our legal benefit (have a seat in the stadium), you ignored us and told us to watch the match through the screen outside OR jump into the Malaysian fan area. How hospitable you are! We never believe we had to pay hundreds of USD for the a chartered flight and 10 USD for the tickets to watch the match through the screen,” the post read.

“We – Vietnamese football fans were left outside – need an official apology from the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Sports, the Malaysian Football Federation, the Organizing Committee of the match last night, also the Vietnam Football Federation (the officially ticket distributor for travel companies) for your shameful behaviour and pay our money back (of course, for not only the ticket fee)!” it said.

Even a few Malaysian fans commented that the situation was not any different in the home section of the stadium during the AFF Suzuki Cup final.

All said and done, it will be interesting to see what the AFF Suzuki Cup organisers and Malaysian football authorities have got to say about these allegations.