Wikipedia - V.League 1

The V.League 1 (Vietnamese: Giải bóng đá vô địch quốc gia, lit. 'National Football League'), also called Night Wolf V.League 1 due to sponsorship reasons, is the top professional football league in Vietnam, controlled by the Vietnam Professional Football Joint Stock Company. It is contested by 14 clubs who play each other on a home and away basis. The team finishing at the top at the end of the season is crowned the champion and enters the AFC Champions League.

The league was founded in 1980 as the All Vietnam Football Championship, with Tổng Cục Đường Sắt emerging as the first winner. The league turned professional in the 2000–01 season, which allowed clubs to hire foreign players. Vietnam Professional Football (VPF) was established in 2012, and the organising power was transferred from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) to Vietnam Professional Football Jointstock Company (VPF).

Viettel has won the title 6 times, the most among V-League clubs and also has total 20 national titles since 1954. Beside, Haiphong are the second with 13 total titles.

History

Pre-unification to 1979

Vietnamese football league system has formed since 1955, while South Vietnamese leagues was formed in 1960. Since then, football leagues has been played in both sides despite the war situation back then. There was a big development in the number of teams, for example, Haiphong has 10 clubs back then. Haiphong Police has won 10 titles in the North, with Thể Công has also won 9.

From the beginning, Northern leagues has split into Division A and Division B.

After reunification, Vietnamese football leagues are played within the regional basis: Hồng Hà League in the North, Trường Sơn League in the Central and Cửu Long League in the South.

Seeing that there's too much constrains in organizing in regions, VFF used the 1979 season to reorganize the league system.

Foundation and early days

The V.League 1, as it is known today, starts its first season in 1980 when the first All Vietnam Football Championship was launched. Seventeen clubs participated in the competition (originally 18, but Thể Công withdrawn due to internal reasons) which was split into three groups and conducted more like a cup competition, with the winner from each group qualifying for the Championship Stage. Công An Hà Nội, Tổng Cục Đường Sắt and Hải Quan were the three teams to qualify, with Tổng Cục Đường Sắt ultimately taking the title. That format, although the teams were split into two groups, continued until 1995 when the league reverted to a more traditional league format.

Turning professional

League football in Vietnam would turn professional in the 2000–2001 season, which saw the league change its name to its current moniker, V-League 1. In that inaugural V-League 1 season, there were only ten clubs, with tighter restrictions meaning fewer teams. Over the next decade, the league grew from 10 teams to the current fourteen, with the team that finishes on top of the table qualifying for the AFC Champions League Group Stage. Clubs were allowed to hire foreign players from this season on.

VPF establishment

Following a season marred by accusations of refereeing corruption and a cover-up by the V.League governing body Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), six clubs (Đồng Tâm Long An, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, Hanoi ACB, Vissai Ninh Bình, Khatoco Khánh Hòa and Lam Sơn Thanh Hóa) threatened to leave the league and form an entirely new league for the 2012 season. The most outspoken club in the move was Hanoi ACB, who were going through relegation from the V.League, with its chairman Nguyen Duc Kien announcing that ACB would spearhead the move. Due to the controversy, league sponsor EximBank expressed its intention to drop its title sponsorship of the league. League officials scrambled to resolve the issues, going as far as hiring foreign referees for the 2012 season. After a meeting on 29 September, representatives of the VFF and the 14 V.League 1 teams and 14 teams announced the formation of a new corporation, the VPF, Vietnam Professional Football Joint Stock Company to manage the V-League. The VFF would hold a 36% stake in the new corporation, and the rest would be held by clubs.

From the 2012 season, the organising power was transferred from the VFF to the VPF (Vietnamese Professional Football), and the V.League 1 was initially changed to the Super League, although this name was short-lived and the league was renamed back to V.League 1 later in the season. The first division was renamed the V.League 2. At the same time, many clubs found themselves in financial and sponsor issues, and many clubs withdrew, merge, bought another, or failed to meet requirements for leagues. As a result, the number of clubs in each league changed dramatically.

Season change

From 2023, the V.League will be finally restructured, with the 2023 V.League 1 season being the last season to be played from spring to autumn format. The same year, the 2023–24 V.League 1 season will also be played to mark the change, by playing from autumn 2023 to near summer 2024, in line with most of domestic leagues in the world.