|"Viet Nam Football Federation chairman Le Hung Dung has confirmed that all players involved in Ninh Binh's match fixing allegations would be banned for life from football activities." Photo AFC
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam Football Federation chairman Le Hung Dung has confirmed that all players involved in Ninh Binh's match fixing allegations would be banned for life from football activities.
"They will be punished by the national law, as well as VFF's regulations. They deserved to be eliminated from football life, and I believe that I could persuade the VFF to make this true," Dung was quoted as saying on vnexpress.net.
"However, I think that in case of sincere declarations they would have the chance to return to football," said Dung, who added that the VFF would co-operate with the police to expand the investigation to other national clubs.
"We should make a real ‘operation' (for Vietnamese football) to cut out cancerous parts so we have a better body," said Dung from Malaysia during his first working trip to the Asian Football Federation head office since he became VFF chairman.
Vo Quoc Thang, chairman of the Viet Nam Football Joinstock Company (VPF), who manages the V-League football tournament, also urged officials to fight match fixing, but did not recommend that clubs quit competitions or be dissolved.
"We say ‘No' to scandals at any level. VPF and I, myself, expect to build a national football league with transparency," Thang said.
"We strongly support Ninh Binh officials with what they are doing against match fixing, but do not agree that they should pull out.
"Ninh Binh has not officially quit, but in the worst case there would have been many disorders in V-League concerning all teams, as well as how they compete," Thang said.
This will be the second year in a row VFP faces the risks of teams quitting. Last year, Xuan Thanh Sai Gon withdrew with only a few rounds remaining in the tournament.
At the meeting in Malaysia, VFF chairman Dung also discussed the problem with AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Al Khalifa explained AFC's plan to fight match-fixing to end this menace in Asia.
AFC adopts a zero tolerance policy towards match-fixing, and the confederation will provide its full support to the VFF in its match manipulation investigation.
AFC will wait for the report of the investigation, which is being carried out by the VFF and the authorities in Viet Nam, before deciding on its next course of action.
In their media statement, the AFC pointed to the existing regulations of the competition, which outlines the likely punishments awaiting Ninh Binh following a withdrawal.
According to Article 29C of the AFC Cup 2014 Competition Regulations, a club withdrawing from the Cup after the commencement of the competition will have ‘all its matches cancelled and considered null and void', with no activity from the participated matches being considered in the ranking of their Group.
There could be further punishment awaiting Ninh Binh, with regulations spelling disqualification from all AFC competitions for a minimum of two years, and Viet Nam's slots in AFC club competition also potentially coming under review.
An AFC Disciplinary Committee could also impose additional sanctions and fines, given the severity of the issue.
On the club side, coach Nguyen Van Sy of Ninh Binh said despite many difficulties, his team was still able to continue at the AFC Cup, as well as domestic tournaments.
"Our boss has not yet made his final decision. Reviewing our conditions at present, I think that we could keep competing.
"We are a strong team in the AFC Cup and have not lost any games. What is happening here is a domestic issue, while the police also have not reached their conclusion. Therefore, Ninh Binh is clear to go on at the Cup," said Sy, who will lose at least 11 players, many of them being on the first team, due to match fixing.
Sy and the remaining players will have to wait for a final decision. Their next match at the Cup will be against host Yangon United in Myanmar on April 22. — VNS