The Vissai Ninh Binh’s fan club has urged Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) to abolish a ban for life against nine players found guilty of betting on an AFC Cup match in March.
“The ban for life is too serious against them, especially some young players like Quang Hung, Gia Tu, etc.,” said the fan club leader Pham Van An.
“I am aware that the punishment has to be strict to deter further match-fixing. However, we consider them our family members. We criticize their wrongdoings but we still love them.”
An’s deputy Nguyen Manh Hung said that VFF should have banned the involved players for one or two years and giving them opportunities for correction.
“I hope relevant authorities would give them an opportunity. They are good players who made mistakes in an unconsidered thought,” he said.
On December 25, VFF’s Disciplinary Board issued a decision on banning the nine former Vissai Ninh Binh players for life, besides an additional fines of VND20 million (US$935) each.
The nine players violated VFF’s regulations involving gambling and match fixing, which stipulates fines of up to VND30 million and indefinite ban from playing football, according to the decision.
On August 25, the Ninh Binh People’s Court sentenced Vissai Ninh Binh defender Tran Manh Dung to 30 months in jail for match fixing.
Eight other players from the Vissai Ninh Binh Club walked out of court with suspended sentences for betting on their AFC match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18, including Le Quang Hung, Nguyen Manh Dung, Pham Xuan Phu, Chu Ngoc Anh, Le Van Duyet, Nguyen Gia Tu, Nguyen Van Hung and Phan Anh Tuan.
The Hai Phong bookie who took the bets, Dao Duc Loi, got 30 months in jail for organizing the scheme.
Loi and nine players were also fined VND20-25 million (US$945-1,180) each.
Following the latest VFF’s decision, many players and their families said they were regretful for their wrongful acts and hoping for a lenient punishment from the football agency.
Chu Ngoc Anh’s mother, Tran Thi Hoa, cried when she said: “I know that my son was wrong. But he should have an apportunity for correction. Such strict punishment will erase all his future.”
Hoa said Anh, whose wife is a factory worker, could not find any suitable job as he began playing football since he was nine.
Ngoc Anh said the nine involved players have agreed to petition to VFF for reconsideration of the decision.
Le Van Duyet also said his mother cried a lot after the family got the decision.
“VFF’s punishment is suitable. But I still hope for a lenient one to begin my life another time. I really hope for an opportunity to correct my fault and paying tribute to our fans.”
Meanwhile, VFF is considering measures against six Dong Nai players allegedly being involved in gambling and organizing gambling.
The six players -- Nguyen Thanh Long Giang, Ha Niem Tien, Pham Huu Phat, Nguyen Duc Thien, Dinh Kien Trung and Phan Luu The Son -- were accused of fixing the result of a V-League match between Quang Ninh Coal and Dong Nai in 2013-2014 season.