|Betting crimes: Dong Nai's defender Phan Luu The Son (centre) at the police office yesterday. Son is one of six players detained because of alleged match-fixing. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Six players of the V-League's Dong Nai FC will soon be prosecuted for match-fixing, major-general Ho Sy Tien, head of the Police Department for Investigation of Social Order-related Crimes, confirmed yesterday.
"After collecting all information and evidence, we worked with the Viet Nam Football Federation leaders and decided on a strict punishment, although the tournament may not wrap up with a happy ending this season," Tien said at a press conference in Ha Noi."These players allegedly defied the law, although they saw what happened to Ninh Binh's players [who were recently caught match-fixing]. They must be prosecuted for bribery and extortion. It is to save Vietnamese football. The police will soon have a final conclusion on this case."
Police detained Nguyen Thanh Long Giang, Pham Huu Phat, Dinh Kien Trung, Nguyen Duc Thien, Ha Niem Tien and Phan Luu The Son on suspicion of throwing a domestic league game on Sunday. Five non-players were arrested at the same time.
The players were questioned immediately after their 3-5 defeat by hosts Quang Ninh Coal in Quang Ninh Province.
Captain Phat, allegedly considered the mastermind, confessed that he and his teammates betted for a loss to Quang Ninh at a price of VND400 million (US$19,000) with Nguyen Phuc Thuan, an illegal bettor, via a website with a server located abroad.
The first-half result was 3-1 and Dong Nai lost another two goals in the second.
"After the first half, I had doubts when Son and Giang made many mistakes. I made some changes to limit the problem but I did not think there were also other factors," said coach Tran Binh Su. "I hope police will come to a conclusion soon so that we can quickly return to competition. These six players have been ousted from our list until the end of the tournament."
Earlier, VFF chairman Le Hung Dung said the national football governing body was determined to take a strong stance against illegal betting. Following its request, the police watched football teams for months after Ninh Binh FC's scandal. More investigations will continue in the future.
After searching players' houses, police seized eight mobile phones, three laptops and VND285 million ($13,500) allegedly obtained through gambling. They have not yet received the winning sum of VND400 million ($19,000).
"The share is based on the positions of the players. We are working on how they share this match," Tien was quoted as saying on vnexpress.net.
Match-fixing has long plagued Vietnamese football, where arrests of coaches, bookmakers and players are commonplace.
At the briefing yesterday, Tien also announced that dozens of arrests were made during the World Cup, with police seizing VND14.244 billion ($760 million), 10 cars, 244 motorbikes and computers and blocking hundreds of bank accounts including thousands of billions of dong. — VNS