Vietnamese police are not probing the national football team’s embarrassing defeat to Malaysia at the AFF Suzuki Cup early this month since they found no evidence of fraud, a police general said Friday.
Lieutenant General Tran Trong Luong of the Ministry of Public Security said that "no signs of crimes” have been discovered in the Vietnam-Malaysia match at the tournament, fully known as the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2014.
Luong made the statement during a press briefing in Hanoi where he reviewed the police force’s activities this year.
The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) called for "concerned authorities" to start an investigation after host Vietnam conceded a 2-4 loss to Malaysia in the second leg of the AFF Cup semi-final on Dec. 11, even though the team had convincingly earned a 2-1 win away in the first leg just a few days before.
VFF chairman Le Hung Dung called the defeat at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium "incomprehensible” as players' performance dropped significantly from earlier matches at the tournament, especially from the first leg in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 7, where Vietnam beat host Malaysia 2-1.
General Luong said Dung's statement was just "his opinion."
Dung, in a later interview, clarified that "concerned authorities" did not necessarily mean police. "That can be a responsible agency of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training," he said.
The ASEAN Football Federation said in a statement on Dec. 13 that Sportradar, a partner it contracted to secure the unparalleled coverage and analysis of the global betting markets offered on all 18 matches at the AFF Cup, did not "observe any suspicious betting patterns in any of the pre-match or live betting markets".
"In fact, a moderate betting confidence was witnessed for Vietnam to win the match in the pre-match markets, however this betting is not strong enough to raise any integrity concerns. There are no signs in any of the betting markets to indicate that these incidents are suspicious," the statement said.
"Although Malaysia recorded a surprising victory to advance to the final, the Security Services can find no betting evidence to suggest that this match was targeted for manipulation."
The AFF Cup wrapped up on Dec. 20 as Thailand took home the cup after defeating Malaysia 4-3 on aggregate.