Vietnam is likely to run soccer betting business to seek more funds for the country’s sports and help prevent rampant illegal betting. In a document sent to the Vietnam Football Federation on January 5, Nguyen Danh Thai, director of the country’s National Sports and Physical Training Committee, said the committee will submit to the government a scheme on launch a soccer betting service for approval in the coming time, local newspaper Pioneer reported Friday January 6.
According to his assessment, legal soccer betting will partially fund the local soccer and contain illegal betting.
Although betting on sports is illegal in Vietnam, it is becoming fairly common in the country, especially in urban areas. Vietnamese police have recently detected several cases in which local bookmakers paid players to change the results of important matches.
Local police are trying to identify bookmakers who asked two members of the national U-23 soccer team at the 23rd Southeast Asian Games, Le Quoc Vuong and Pham Van Quyen, to fix a qualification match against Burma held in the Philippines in November 2005.
Local police have detained Vuong for the charge of gambling and organising gambling, while Quyen, Vietnam’s 2003 Golden Ball winner, for the charge of gambling only. Vuong confessed that he wooed several team mates to rig the match. Their poor performance on purpose resulted a 1-0 victory in favour of Vietnam as expected by local bookmakers.
Besides Vuong and Quyen, the police have detained two other members of the national squad.
In addition to match-fixing cases with the deep involvement of bookies, the police have uncovered many cases, in which local clubs bribed referees and their opponents so that they received promoted, won championships, or did not have to be relegated in national tournaments.
Vietnam is launching an iron-fist campaign to cleanse its soccer of wrongdoings. Since August 2005, local police have uncovered some 50 local corrupt referees, as well as managing directors and coaches of some clubs.
To date, 19 out of 60 local referees and teams’ officials who have allegedly involved in match-fixing over the past two-years have been prosecuted. Of the men, five have been detained.