Police arrested a third Vissai Ninh Binh player on gambling and match fixing charges, leaving the club with a dire shortage of players as it enters the Asia Football Council’s (AFC) quarterfinals.
Club Chairman Pham Van Le confirmed that police arrested 25-year-old midfielder Phan Anh Tuan on Thursday (May 29), right after he returned from Malaysia for the Asia Football Council’s (AFC) quarterfinals draw.
“Immediately after I got back to Vietnam, this morning, the police contacted me and asked me to witness the arrest,” Le said.
Tuan is one of nine Vissai Ninh Binh players being investigated for gambling and match fixing.
On April 29, Defender Tran Manh Dung and goalkeeper Nguyen Manh Dung were arrested and several other players were placed under investigation for their role in a scheme to manipulate scores during the Asian Football Council (AFC) Cup match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18.
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 their investigation was launched.
During the match, midfielder Tuan served as a substitute and did not play--though police say he participated in the betting.
Tuan began playing for Vissai Ninh Binh in 2013 after graduating from the Tu Son Sports University in Bac Ninh.
A trial is expected to begin in August.
Ninh Binh police are also investigating the possibility that some players bet on and fixed a match during the V-League 2014.
According to the results of the draw for AFC quarterfinal round on May 28, Vissai Ninh Binh will face off against Hong Kong’s Kichee in August.
The scandal-plagued Vissai Ninh Binh is facing a shortage of players for the match.
“I'm envious of the strong force of Hanoi T&T [another Vietnamese club to compete at AFC’s quarterfinals]. They have both local and foreign players who can all play well,” the club’s coach Nguyen Van Sy told Thanh Nien News.
“Meanwhile, I have fewer than ten players… But we will not withdraw from the AFC cup. We have to find enough players,” he said.
He said defeating Kitchee won't be very difficult if he has enough players.
“I hope Vissai Ninh Binh will defeat Kitchee to advance to AFC Cup semifinals. And it would be interesting if Hanoi T&T gets to face us then,” he said.
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