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Match-fixing scandal rocks Vietnamese football: five players prosecuted

The Bà Rịa Stadium was quiet on Thursday after the prosecutions. — Photo


HÀ NỘI — Five players from Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu football club have been charged by police in connection with illegal gambling activities. 

The players involved are goalkeeper Nguyễn Sơn Hải, striker Phạm Văn Phong, and three midfielders: Lê Bằng Gia Huy, Nguyễn Quang Huy, and Trần Kỳ Anh.

They have been charged under Article 321 of the Penal Code for gambling, specifically for betting on football matches through online platforms. It was alleged that they had discussed and agreed to intentionally perform poorly during the match against Đà Nẵng in the V.League 2 on December 24, 2023, at Bà Rịa Stadium, resulting in a 1-3 loss for Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Club.

Before this incident, another team in the first division terminated the contracts of four players in early December 2023. These players had exhibited suspicious behavior following a heavy 0-4 defeat to Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu on November 5, also at Bà Rịa Stadium. Among the four players, three were in defensive positions, and one was the team captain. The club subsequently replaced both the head coach and the assistant coach.

The issue of match-fixing has resurfaced in national football tournaments.

In the past, the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) took disciplinary action against 11 players from Đồng Tháp's U21 team for participating in betting activities during the qualifying round of the national U21 tournament and the second division event.

In 2015, six players from Đồng Nai Club were prosecuted for gambling and match-fixing during the V.League 1 2014. Additionally, the VFF permanently banned nine players from The Vissai Ninh Bình for their involvement in a match-fixing incident against the Kelantan team in Malaysia on March 18, 2014.

"Upon receiving information about the incident, VFF instructed VPF and the event's organising committee to actively address the matter," said Trần Anh Tú, vice president of VFF and chairman of Việt Nam Professional Football Joint Stock Company (VPF).

VPF General Director  Nguyễn Minh Ngọc added: "In addition to cooperating with the Ministry of Public Security, VPF regularly exchanges information with VFF and collaborates with specialised companies that analyse sports data to prevent illicit activities. Illegal activities in football are evolving with increasing complexity and sophistication. Dissemination, education, and communication programme to raise players' awareness play crucial roles. VPF will intensify the management of tournaments even further."

The VFF is determined to eradicate corruption from Vietnamese football. VFF has always prioritised the sustainable and clean football development. For many years, VFF and the Ministry of Public Security have maintained close cooperation in combating corruption and ensuring security and safety in football activities managed, organised, and operated by VFF. These efforts contribute significantly to the sustainable development of football and creating a fair competition environment, enriching the spiritual lives of both domestic and foreign audiences. — VNS

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