More than 36 hours after the first leg of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup final beween Malaysia and Vietnam, the furore surrounding the match continue to rumble on as Vietnamese fans displayed their displeasure on how they were treated at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Numerous online articles emerged detailing their struggles to get to their seats and how they were denied entry to the away fans section. Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) have not issued any public statement about this yet but Goal have managed to get a deeper understanding of just what went on.
Stuart Ramalingam the general-secretary of FAM was met at Kuala Lumpur International Airport prior to the team’s flight to Hanoi for the return leg and he explained the entire situation that absolved FAM from any blame.
“The allocation for Vietnamese fans come from FAM, just how we are assisting our fans in purchasing away tickets. So VFF communicated to FAM that at first they required 3,000 tickets then at the morning of the match, they added another 500.“
“In the regulation, the away team must get 8% of the total sellable tickets, which is 8% of the 80,000. On that, they should get 6,400 tickets but they took 3,500. The bottom tier that was reserved for Vietnamese fans has 4,500 seats.
“As you saw, there were more than 4,500 people so that area was already full. In a normal case, the lower tier and upper tier in that section which is normally allocated for the away fans have 6,400 seats. But because they only applied for 3,500, we’ve already opened up the upper tier for Malaysian fans. Which is why the away fans didn’t get in.
“I don’t know how they did it but what is clear is that half of the Vietnam fans bought local tickets, from whatever means whether they queued at the counter or through online. So there were more away fans than what the took from us. Obviously there were a spillover and the police stopped them outside because it was already packed.
“At about 8:30pm, I was called by the police asking what to do. We dispersed the Vietnam crowd to other gates because Gate E was already congested,” Stuart told Goal.
Immediately after the match, Stuart was straight on the phone with his counterpart in VFF to explain the whole scenario and to ensure that travelling Malaysian fans will not receive any extra hardship due to this incident.
“I spoke to VFF and communicated to their gen-sec. I showed him the picture of their quadrant and explained to him that they only applied 3,500 tickets and if you look at that picture, it’s already more than that. So within our capacity, we did what was necessary. VFF understands even though we have’t seen a public comment from them on this.”
“However, I have to say that despite all that, there were no incident between Malaysian fans and Vietnam fans. So on that, the police did an excellent job.
“There was no apologies from VFF and I don’t think they need to. They couldn’t have known how their fans got hold of tickets, perhaps it is Vietnamese fans who are already in Malaysia that VFF didn’t predict.
“I will meet the gen-sec today to discuss all these matters. In terms of security, I believe he would appreciate the amount of work Malaysian police has put together pertaining to the 2014 incident and nothing like this happening again despite the huge crowd that we had. That is a sign of good security plans,” added Stuart.
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