Nghe An footballer assaulted

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Police in the north-central province of Nghe An are investigating a case in which a locally well-known football player was assaulted on November 17 after an alleged dispute with strangers, an official said.

Senior Lieutenant-colonel Mai Chien Thang, deputy chief of Vinh Town's police division, told Vietweek they are looking for the people who slashed Nguyen Hong Viet, a 23-year-old halfback for the Song Lam Nghe An Club.

Initial information was that Viet was attacked after he and his friends had a dispute with a group of strangers at a karaoke parlor earlier that night.

However, Nguyen Hong Thanh, director general of the Song Lam Nghe An Football Joint-stock Company, which owns Viet's team, told Vietweek that Viet had actually tried to stop a fight which broke out between his friends and the group of strangers.

What is known is that afterwards, a group of people slashed Viet's arm and thigh in front his house in Vinh Town, Thanh said.

The athlete's family rushed him to a local hospital, and later transferred him to Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi, Thanh said, adding he returned to Vinh on Monday.

The general director said the team would await the official conclusion drawn by police before determining if Viet would be punished for any wrongdoings he may have committed.

Meanwhile, in an interview with news website VietNamNet, Viet said: "I myself did not have any conflicts with anyone and did nothing wrong."  

Viet, considered as one of the stars of his team, was once arrested in 2008 for allegedly possessing drugs, but was later exonerated. However, the footballer's contract was terminated by the club and he only returned to the team earlier this year.

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