Vietnam's V.League 1 to resume on June 5 with all-new playoff format

Nguyen Quang Hai, photographed (left) playing for Hanoi FC vs. V.League 1 rivals Becamex Binh Duong in the AFC Cup last season, is the biggest name in Vietnamese soccer. Power Sport Images

Top-flight football will return to Vietnam on June 5 as the V.League 1 resumes competition, but with a revised playoff format to accommodate for the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike many competitions in Asia, the V.League 1 managed to kick off the 2020 campaign earlier this year -- albeit behind closed doors -- and played two rounds of fixtures before bringing a halt to proceedings as the pandemic exacerbated.

Nonetheless, the VPF (Vietnamese Professional Football) has since announced a resumption on the first weekend of next month, with three fixtures on June 5 and another four the day after.

Although the competition traditionally runs on a home-and-away round-robin system, the need to complete the campaign despite missing more than two months of action also means a new format will be introduced that will still see clubs play either 18 or 20 games.

After each of the 14 clubs play one another once, the league will then be divided the top eight and bottom six teams.

The top eight will then face off with each other once again to vie for the top three spots, which decides which teams qualify for AFC competition, while the bottom six will battle to avoid relegation -- with only one team facing the drop this season.

The league season is currently scheduled to run until Oct. 25, followed by the Vietnamese National Cup that will be concluded by the end of the month, allowing sufficient time for the Vietnam national team to still prepare for the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup.

A return to action will also be a welcome boost to Than Quang Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City, who are Vietnam's two representatives in the AFC Cup this season, as they will get some much-needed match action ahead of their rivals in continental competition.

Ho Chi Minh City lead the table after two rounds, having picked up a maximum six points, with another five teams joint-second on four.