Star striker asks for lighter penalty

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Le Cong Vinh sent a letter to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Wednesday asking for his six-game suspension to be shortened.

VFF decided to suspend Vinh and fine him VND10 million for kowtowing to referee Vu Bao Linh during a sixth-round V-League match at Cao Lanh Stadium between hosts Dong Thap and his club Hanoi T&T on Sunday.

The capital club also decided Wednesday to strip Vinh of his captaincy, cut his bonuses for three months and fine him VND50 million (about a month's salary).

Hanoi T&T has also sent a letter to VFF aslomg for a less severe penalty for Vinh. The club said it hoped the country's football governing body would consider Vinh's big contributions to the country.

He won the Golden Ball in 2004, 2006 and 2007, the Silver Ball in 2005 and the Bronze Ball in 2008.

Vinh was also instrumental in Vietnam winning the ASEAN Football Federation Cup in 2008 for the first time in 49 years.

Hanoi T&T said Vinh's gestures shouldn't have been considered "indecent". The club said his spontaneous act should only be regarded as "overreaction" and Vinh deserved only a two-match suspension, at most.

Meanwhile, national team coach Henrique Calisto said the act at Cao Lanh Stadium would not affect Vinh's chance to play for the national team in a friendly with Germany's Eintratch Frankfurt on May 12.

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