Soccer players from Vissai Ninh Binh F.C. Photo: Kha Hoa
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) extended a domestic ban placed on nine Vietnamese soccer players to regional-level games for their involvement in a match fixing scandal.
The governing body of soccer matches in Asia announced that the regional ban would remain in place until November 20 pending a final verdict from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
On May 20, the VFF provisionally banned the nine players from Vissai Ninh Binh F.C. from taking part in any kind of soccer-related activities after they reportedly admitted to fixing an AFC Cup match.
Nguyen Manh Dung, Tran Manh Dung, Chu Ngoc Anh, Le Quang Hung, Nguyen Xuan Phu, Phan Anh Tuan, Nguyen Van Hung, Le Van Duyet and Nguyen Gia Tu are being detained pending a trial later this month.
Police in the northern province of Ninh Binh have wrapped up investigations into the nine players and recommended that provincial prosecutors charge them with “illegal betting.”
On April 29, defender Tran Manh Dung and goalkeeper Nguyen Manh Dung were arrested for their role in a scheme to manipulate scores during the AFC Cup match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18.
Several other players were placed under investigation (without detention) for the same charge.
On May 13, Ninh Binh police arrested the team's alleged bookie, Dao Duc Loi, saying that Dung, the team's goalkeeper and alleged mastermind, asked Loi to take a VND2 billion (US$95,000) bet; the bookmaker only accepted half that amount.
Vissai Ninh Binh defeated Kelantan 3-2 and the Vietnamese players won their bet, though they returned their illicit winnings as soon as a police investigation was launched.
During the match, midfielder Tuan served as a substitute and did not play--though police say he participated in the betting.
Eventually nine players admitted to illegally betting on that match against Kelantan. The club eventually decided to withdraw from the V-League, effectively nullifying the results of their eight matches.