Friday, November 25, 2011


Vietnam & SEA Games Match Fixing

Hanoi. Vietnamese police are investigating whether the national under-23 side fixed a match at the recent Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, Vietnam’s football authorities said Friday.

It comes after state-controlled press questioned the team’s 3-1 victory over Laos on November 17 at the Games in Indonesia.

“We are working with the police who accompanied the footballers to the Games and we will study their report,” Vietnam Football Federation vice-president Pham Ngoc Vien said.

The VFF had not formally requested the probe, he added.

Police officers accompany footballers and other athletes to the Games as a matter of routine, he said.

“We don’t have clear information on this question [of match-fixing]. If there were problems, we will settle them soon,” the official added.

Vietnamese match-fixing in the past has involved criminals ordering a particular scoreline.

In 2007, two former footballers were given jail terms for fixing an under-23 match against Burma at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games in return for cash payments.

Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on its Web site of the latest allegations: “Some actions during the game indicate that the team may have been manipulating the match to limit the win for Vietnam.”

It cited Trong Hoang’s penalty kick going wide and striker Van Quyet “praying” after Vietnam extended their lead to 3-1. Midfielder Hoang told the Tien Phong newspaper that “me and my team-mates are completely clean.”

The victory over Laos ensured Vietnam finished top of Group B. They went on to lose 2-0 to Indonesia in the semi-finals.

Corruption is widespread throughout Vietnamese society and has hit professional football particularly hard.

Vietnam’s pro league has been dogged by allegation of graft for much of the past decade.

In October, wealthy club owners mounted a coup against the state-controlled VFF, essentially agreeing to privatize the sport from next year amid concerns over corruption that threatened to fatally undermine the popularity of the local league.

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