US$2M sponsorship still sought for ASEAN Cup

Pro-football Vietnamese newspaper, Thanh Nien, reports excellent support for its recently submited bid to sponsor the ASEAN Football Championship - formerly the Tiger Cup - which is held every second year for 11 national football teams of South East Asia. Singapore's Tiger Beer company concludes its 10-year relationship with the much-loved competition this coming March and ASEAN Football Association and Asian Football Confederation officials have been seeking a new US$2 million sponsor for the past six months. A decision may come as early as November.

Ho Duc Viet, a member of the Vietnam's ruling Communist Party’s standing committee and chairman of the National Assembly’s Science and Environment Committee, praised the proposal and said he strongly believed Thanh Nien can successfully undertake the venture because of its experience and organisational skill in hosting major events, and ability to procure sponsorship.

Leaders of the Vietnam Football Federation reportedly "strongly support and have confidence in Thanh Nien newspaper" because of its "experience, economic potential and prestige" in sponsoring Vietnam's own U21 national football championships for nine consecutive years. Vietnam Football Development Company’s director Le Thuy Hanh confirmed her company will be able to draw about half of the necessary sponsorship funds in cooperation with Thanh Nien.

Thanh Nien chief Nguyen Cong Khe said his newspapercan call for investment, sponsorship, and other cooperation with companies and agencies in Vietnam to join hands in successfully pulling off the event. "Vietnam Airlines, tourist companies, hotels, restaurants, and sports agencies will certainly come to our aide," he said.

In the event of the Vietnamese proposal being accepted, he said, the VFF will be responsible for taking care of transportation, food, accommodation, security, and healthcare services for officials, footballers and the organization board and Thanh Nien responsible for communications, advertising and procurement of sponsorship for the event.

However, Asian Football Confederation general secretary, Peter Velappan, has ruled that the event cannot be permanently based in Vietnam, insisting that countries in the region take turns to host it. He asked Thanh Nien and the VFF to submit a detailed plan after which the AFC will discuss issues such as the official name of the championship, competition schedule, marketing, procurement of sponsorship from advertisements, television and in-stadium rights.

Tiger Cup winners: 1996 Thailand; 1998 Singapore; 2000 Thailand; 2002 Thailand; 2004 Singapore.

See also: Vietnam concerned about Tiger Cup sponsorship (11 Oct)