Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Chairman Nguyen Trong Hy said Friday that it is a "political duty" to welcome English Premier League club Arsenal to the country, and that the friendly against the national team will be played next month as planned .
He also said the match would be played at the My Dinh National Stadium in the capital on July 17.
Hy made the statement amid worries that the match might be moved to another stadium or even cancelled due to the rent of VND1.5 billion (US$71,500) demanded by the stadium management, which is estimated to be 8 times the usual price.
Speaking to the press, Can Van Nghia, director of My Dinh national sports complex which includes the stadium, had said: "I don't need to know whether you bring Arsenal or Manchester United to Vietnam. If you think you are financially strong enough, you should invite them. This is business. We can't but ask for a high price. It costs VND1 billion to maintain the field of grass alone.
"But to be honest, what I care about is security and safety before, during and after the game; and money is not the key issue."
Infuriated by the stadium management, an member of the organizing committee had suggested moving the match to another stadium or cancelling it.
Hy, however, said: "The steering committee held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the issue and I promised to solve the problem in peace. The match will surely be held at My Dinh and the price won't be that high.
"Nghia [Can Van Nghia] was a little too "˜hard' on this because he did not distinguish between a political duty and a commercial activity," Hy said.
"The Ministry [of Culture, Sports and Tourism] gives the stadium management to the right to manage the stadium financially. Special cases like this, however, should be considered political duties so that related agencies work closely together to successfully fulfill them."
Hy also said VFF would pay part of the cost of inviting the English club to Vietnam. It is estimated that VND39.8 billion will be spent while the organizers can get maximum revenues of VND27 billion, suffering a loss of more than VND11 billion.
"A representative from the Hanoi Police Department said the agency considers it a political duty. Therefore, it will not cost much to hire the security force. The office manager of Hanoi Police has promised to guarantee absolute safety for Arsenal's trip," Hy said.