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Police probe match-fixing claim

Update: March, 07/2013 - 05:00
Fair play: Da Nang winger Huynh Quoc Anh (right) launches an overhead kick in last week's Super Cup match against Sai Gon Xuan Thanh. His team won 4-0 to lift the Super Cup, in agame that is now under investigation for match-fixing. — VNS Photo Hoai Nam

HA NOI (VNS) — The Vietnamese Football Professional Joint Stock Company (VPF)'s Ethics Committee has been working with the Public Security Ministry's Criminal Police Department to investigate a suspected match-fixing case in a Super Cup match between SHB Da Nang and Sai Gon Xuan Thanh last month.

"We are continuing our fight against match fixing and other ‘negative matters' in football. The Ethics Committee and the police have held meetings about the suspected match-fixing case," deputy head of the VPF's Ethics Committee, Nguyen Van Vinh, told Viet Nam News in a telephone interview yesterday.

"It needs time to detect and find clear evidence to stamp out match-fixing and the players involved," he added.

The Super Cup match, of which hosts Da Nang trounced Sai Gon Xuan Thanh 4-0 to win the trophy at Chi Lang Stadium on February 24, was being monitored even before the game kicked off.

Vinh told the media he had received a message from an unknown source saying that the match would be fixed, and Sai Gon Xuan Thanh would concede at least three goals in the second half.

The message was not received until after the match had kicked off.

Da Nang took a first half lead of 1-0 thanks to a goal from winger Huynh Quoc Anh, and the hosts added three more in the second half.

The message sender has since been identified and is in police protection, having confirmed that the information came from a member of Sai Gon Xuan Thanh.

The five-member Ethics Committee held a meeting on February 26 to review a tape of the game.

Vinh said that committee members agreed that some of the Sai Gon Xuan Thanh players appeared not to be putting in 100 per cent which resulted in the loss of a few cheap goals. Defender Le Hai Anh was singled out for giving the ball away cheaply to let Da Nang in for their third goal.

Members of the committee also pointed out that three goals had been scored in the second half – seemingly confirming the pre-match message.

"We have asked the Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF)'s disciplinary department, the Super Cup organisers and the police to continue their investigations," said Vinh, who formerly coached Hoang Anh Gia Lai and HCM City Police.

The Ethics Committee was launched last month with the aim of debarring unethical behaviour and punishing cases accordingly.

Chairman of Sai Gon Xuan Thanh Nguyen Xuan Thuy also told the media that the team's managing board had been co-operating with the VPF's Ethics Committee, the police and the Super Cup committee to resolve the problem.

Match fixing and gambling in the V-League has marred the face of Vietnamese football in recent years.

In 2005, seven national team players were banned or served jail-time after an investigation into a match-fixing scandal at the Southeast Asian Games.

A string of referees and assistants also went on trial that year for match-fixing in the V-League, as well as a former coach of Song Lam Nghe An who was accused of receiving bribes to fix the V-League in 2001-02. — VNS

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