Footballers detained for match-fixing claims

Six players of the V-League’s Dong Nai FC will soon be prosecuted for match-fixing, major general Ho Sy Tien, head of the Police Department for Investigation of Social Order-related Crimes, said on July 21.

“After collecting all information and evidence, we worked with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) leaders and decided on a strict punishment, although the tournament may not wrap up with a happy ending this season,” Tien said a t a press briefing in Hanoi.

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Major general Ho Sy Tien announced the arrest of the six players involved in the match-fixing case

“These players allegedly defied the law, although they saw what happened to Ninh Binh’s players [who were recently caught match-fixing]. They must be prosecuted for bribery and extortion. It is to save Vietnaemse football. The police will soon have a final conclusion on this case.”

Police detained Nguyen Thanh Long Giang, Pham Huu Phat, Dinh Kien Trung, Nguyen Duc Thien, Ha Niem Tien, and Phan Luu The Son on suspicion of throwing a domestic league game on July 20. Five non-players were arrested at the same time.

The players were questioned immediately after their 3-5 defeat by hosts Quang Ninh Coal in Quang Ninh province.

Captain Phat, allegedly considered the mastermind, confessed that he and his teammates betted for a loss to Quang Ninh at a price of VND400 million (US$19,000) with Nguyen Phuc Thuan, an illegal better, via a website with a server localted abroad.

The first half result was 3-1 and Dong Nai lost another two goals in the second half.

“After the first half, I had doubts when Son and Giang made many mistakes. I made some changes to limit the problem but I did not think there were also other factors,” said coach Tran Binh Su. “I hope police will come to a conclusion soon so that we can quickly return to competition. These six players have been ousted from our list until the end of the tournament.”

Earlier, VFF chairman Le Hung Dung said the national football governing body was determined to take a strong stance against illegal betting. Following its request, the police watched football teams for months after Ninh Binh FC’s scandal. More investigations will continue in the future.

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Nguyen Thanh Long Giang - one of the six players involved in the scandal

After searching players’ houses, police seized eight mobile phones, three laptops and VND400 million (US$19,000).

“The share is based on the positions of the players. We are working on how they share this match,” Tien was quoted as saying on VnExpress.

Match-fixing has long plagued Vietnamese football where arrests of coaches, bookmakers and players are commonplace.

At the press briefing, Tien also announced that dozens of arrests were made during the recent World Cup, with police seizing VND14,244 billion (US$760 million), 10 cars, 244 motorbikes and computers and blocking hundreds of bank accounts, including thousands of billions of Vietnamese dong.