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Vietnamese soccer players go on trial for match-fixing

Vietnamese soccer players go on trial for match-fixing

Seven former members of Vietnam's national team went on trial Thursday on charges of fixing a match during the Southeast Asian Games more than a year ago, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the country's scandal-plagued soccer community.
Along with an eighth player from a club side, they are accused of "organized gambling," an offense that carries jail terms ranging from three years to seven years, said an official at the Ho Chi Minh City court, where the trial is being held.
The official declined to give her name because she was not authorized to talk to media.
The defendants include star striker Pham Van Quyen and midfielder Le Quoc Vuong from the Song Lam Nghe An club, and striker Truong Tan Hai, who played for the topflight V-League team Saigon Port.
The players are accused of fixing a match between Vietnam and Myanmar during the SEA Games in the Philippines in December 2005 in return for 240 million dong (US$15,000).
Vietnam defeated Myanmar 1-0 and advanced to the semifinals, where it beat Malaysia 2-1. However, it lost 3-0 in the championship match to regional powerhouse Thailand. The players were allegedly paid by a local betting ring for agreeing to ensure that their team won by only one goal.
The country's soccer governing body said tough measures are necessary to clean up a league plagued with match-fixing and scandals.
"We need to have strong measures to cleanse our soccer, particularly the vices of match-fixing and gambling," said Vu Quang Vinh, vice president of the Vietnam Football Federation.
Vinh said the trial "serves as a warning to those parasites who have been corrupting Vietnamese soccer, and it will help to win back fans."
Vietnamese soccer has seen a string of high-profile arrests in connection with bribery and gambling. Nearly two dozen referees, coaches and sports officials are facing criminal charges for alleged match-fixing incidents in the past year.
The trial is set to end Friday.


Updated : 2020-12-04 23:10 GMT+08:00