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Football in Vietnam returns to crowded stadiums

Fans of Vietnam react in the crowd during the AFC Asian Cup quarter final match against Japan (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Football in Vietnam returned this weekend to packed crowds as the Covid-19 threat in the country appears to have abated.

In one of three opening V.League 1 games played on Friday, the stadium in Nam Dinh was close to its 30,000 capacity. Hand sanitiser was available and stewards performed temperature checks on fans, who were asked to wear masks, however, few face masks were seen, Reuters reports.

The V.League 1 was just into the second game of the season before it was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The remainder of the 2020 V.League 1 will be played in a single round format before the competition then moves to the next phase to decide the overall winner.

Vietnam has reported no coronavirus deaths and only 328 confirmed cases, and has won praise for its aggressive coronavirus testing and a mass, centralised quarantine programme.

The V.League returns with no restriction on supporters, standing in stark contrast to other professional European and Asian football leagues that are gradually resuming their seasons playing to empty stadiums.

The New Zealand government is expected to announce today (Monday) that it is dropping the country’s Covid-19 alert level to ‘level 1’, meaning it can fully open sports stadiums. The country is currently at alert level 2, meaning there is a limit of 100 people attending mass gatherings.