India’s I-League came in second and Indonesia’s Liga 1 took the third spot. Vietnam is the first recipient of the newly-introduced award. The new award categories aim to reward Asia’s best and most promising leagues, graded on their management and administration, financial performance, competitiveness, marketing and promotion and media and communications, the AFC said. On Tuesday, Vietnam Professional Football Company’s General Director Tran Anh Tu received the award and certificate from AFC at the Asia’s Sports Industry Awards and Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. “Football is a very popular sport in our country and we are continuously thinking of new ways to improve the league. This award is testament that we are moving in the right direction and it will serve as motivation to continue our efforts to develop the game in Vietnam,” Tu said. The award reflects Vietnam’s growing prominence in the region. It recently beat more favored teams to reach the semifinals of the Asian Games for the first time in its history. Earlier, in the U23 Asian Football Championship, Vietnam finished runner up, beating fancied teams like Qatar on the way. Last month, two Vietnamese players, Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Cong Phuong, were picked as best player award contenders at the ongoing AFF Cup. Vietnam’s Nguyen Anh Duc was included in a list of seven “dangerous” forwards at the same tournament.