Women’s tourney changes format hinh anh 1VFF General Secretary Nguyen Minh Chau and a Thai Son Bac representative shake hands at the draw and sponsorship signing ceremony for the National Women’s Football Championship in Hanoi. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The National Women’s Football Championship 2016 marked a new step up as it welcomed one more participant to this year’s event.

Eight teams will compete in the tournament, which kicks off in Ha Nam Province in May.

Son La FC’s appearance marks a change in the competition’s regulations, and the annual tournament will be organised in a round-robin two-leg format for the first time. The four strongest teams will advance to the semi-finals, and the winner will be named after the final match.

“The new competition rule means that teams will play more games and have more chances to take the crown,” said Tran Huy Duc, head of the Competition Department of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) at a press conference on March 28 in Hanoi.

“A team sitting in fourth position after the round robin stage could win the title if they reach their peak in the knock-out round. And those who enter the semi-finals will ensure their bronze medals,” Duc said.

The first leg round will be from May 9-30 at the Ha Nam Gymnasium in Phu Ly City.

Hosts Phong Phu Ha Nam will face Vietnam Coal and Minerals in the opening match.

The second leg round will be from August 22 to September 12 at HCM City’s Thong Nhat Stadium.

Thai Son Bac, long-term partner of the VFF, will continue to sponsor the tournament for the fifth year in a row.

The company will provide nearly 800 million VND (36,000 USD) in prizes at the tournament, and the winners will bag 300 million VND (14,000 USD).

“It is good that Thai Son Bac is still a key sponsor of the championship. Their support plays a big role in developing the sport among women in Vietnam,” said VFF Deputy General Secretary Nguyen Minh Chau.

“VFF appreciates their contribution and hopes the two sides will tighten the co-operation with each other in the future,” Chau said.

“We are happy to continue our support for the women’s tournament for the fifth year in a row,” said Bui Dinh Te, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thai Son Nam. “Through the years, we have seen the development of the sport in terms of quality and quantity.”

“We expect that with our help the national women’s football team will make strong steps forward while VFF can select many talented players for the national team,” he said.-VNA