Former Dong Nai captain gets 6 years in football match-fixing scandal

By Hoang Tuan - Le Lam, Thanh Nien News

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Pham Huu Phat (R), former Dong Nai captain, and other defendants stand trial on March 11. Photo: Le Lam Pham Huu Phat (R), former Dong Nai captain, and other defendants stand trial on March 11. Photo: Le Lam

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A court in the southern province of Dong Nai on Friday handed down a jail term of six years against a former captain of the local football club for masterminding a match-fixing scheme in 2014.
Pham Huu Phat, 27, was found guilty of "gambling" and "organizing gambling activities."
The bookies involved, Tran Van Ba and Nguyen Phuc Thuan, got three years each for the same charges. Another defendant, Tran Dinh Hai, received a jail term of one and a half years and was released on Friday. 
Three former Dong Nai players were sentenced to two years probation. 
According to investigators, Phat persuaded the players to join his scheme and fix a V.League match against Quang Ninh in 2014. Their team eventually lost 5-3. 
Ba paid Phat VND325 million (US$14,600) and the latter reportedly gave most of the money to his mother. The mother handed over the money to police during the investigation.
Phat and the three players also bet on their game and won VND210 million in total.
The Asian Football Confederation has suspended the players, following life bans issued by the Vietnam Football Federation. 
Gambling is illegal in Vietnam and punishable by jail terms ranging from two to seven years if VND50 million or more is involved.
Despite the ban, gambling on football, the country’s most popular sport, is rampant. Match fixing is also rife, with many bookmakers and players arrested over the years.
On August 25, 2014, Vissai Ninh Binh defender Tran Manh Dung got 30 months for match fixing.
Eight other players from the northern club got suspended sentences for betting on their Asian Football Confederation Cup match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18, 2014.
The Hai Phong bookie who took the bets, Dao Duc Loi, was sentenced to 30 months.

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