Vinh kowtows 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

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on Tuesday (March 23) decided to suspend striker Le Cong Vinh for six matches for sarcastically kowtowing to referee Vu Bao Linh in a sixth-round V-League match on Sunday.

Along with the suspension, the leading Hanoi T&T and Vietnam national team striker was also fined VND10 million.

The decision was made based on the league’s regulation 39, which says that a footballer will be suspended for six matches and fined VND10 million for insulting another person by using gestures, actions or words.

Vinh, the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Golden Ball winner, made the gesture near the end of the match at Cao Lanh Stadium between hosts Dong Thap and his club because he thought the referee had made a mistake.

Nguyen Hai Huong, head of the VFF’s disciplinary committee, said, “The decision was made based on the leagues’ regulation 39. Vinh is not a young player. He is mature and has been famous for several years….He must know that he is a public figure and must be careful about what he does and says….Vinh is captain of Hanoi T&T and a member of the national team. He can never display such unacceptable behavior.”

Huong said the disciplinary committee made the decision after talking to referee Linh and match supervisor Dang Quang Duong. They also reviewed the video recording of the incident.

Huong said Vinh’s actions could badly affect the image of the club and the league, and exert a lot of undue pressure on referees.

It would have been unacceptable even if the referee was wrong, but in this case, the match supervisor said the referee was right, Huong said.

“Vinh has publicly apologized, but that cannot be used to reduce the penalty.”

(Source: Thanh Nien)