HA NOI — Police and football authorities yesterday signed a co-operation agreement aimed at stamping out match-fixing in the national V-League.
The agreement follows a string of match-fixing scandals, in a country where gambling is widespread, despite being banned.
Two sides agreed to keep a close watch on every V-League match for possible signs of match-fixing and continue efforts to ensure fair and safe football matches.
"During the past years the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) has worked with the police to catch and penalise those responsible for match-fixing," said VFF chairman Nguyen Trong Hy.
"In the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, seven Vietnamese national players were jailed for match-fixing, and these arrests are a result of the co-operation between the VFF and police."
The seven players had rigged a match against Myanmar during the SEA Games.
However, the deputy head of the police investigation department, Colonel Ho Sy Tien, admitted that in order to effectively battle match-fixing and corruption in football, the Government may have to legalise some form of football betting.
"Legal betting would be an effective way to clear out the match-fixing and illegal betting problem in Viet Nam," said Tien.
Colonel Tien said the gambling problem in Viet Nam was not as serious as in other countries.
"We have taken measures to prevent match-fixing in football as well as in other sports," he said.
"We are developing a programme to tackle illegal betting not only in football, but other sports and games throughout the country."
In 2006, police said the ‘clean hands' campaign resulted in 1,554 people being arrested in 348 cases of illegal betting uncovered by police in 39 of the country's 64 provinces and cities.
Authorities also seized VND3.5 billion (US$219,400) and $31,762 in cash, 160 motorbikes, 13 cars, 382 cell phones and 54 computers.
The new co-operation agreement between football and police authorities also notes concerns about safety at matches.
The national league, which began it's season in January, was hit with outbreak of violence on and off the field at several some matches.
Colonel Tien said police authorities always arrange riot forces to ensure security at stadiums during every V-League match. — VNS