VFF suspends nine footballers under criminal investigation

By Lan Phuong, Thanh Nien News

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Defender Tran Manh Dung (L) and goalkeeper Nguyen Manh Dung were arrested on April 29 as police investigated them on illicit gambling charges. PHOTOS: KHA HOA
The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) suspended nine Vissai Ninh Binh players on Tuesday while police investigate their possible role in a match fixing and gambling scheme.
The indefinite suspension took effect on May 20 against Nguyen Manh Dung, Tran Manh Dung, Chu Ngoc Anh, Le Quang Hung, Nguyen Xuan Phu, Phan Anh Tuan, Nguyen Van Hung, Le Van Duyet and Nguyen Gia Tu.
Defender Tran Manh Dung and goalkeeper Nguyen Manh Dung were arrested on April 29 while other players were placed under investigation without being detained.
On May 13, Ninh Binh police arrested their alleged bookie, Dao Duc Loi.
Defender Dung allegedly enlisted eight other players in a scheme to manipulate scores during the Asian Football Council (AFC) Cup match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18, police said.
He 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.
The club has since withdrawn from the V-League but continued to compete at the AFC Cup.
On May 13, Vissai Ninh Binh defeated India’s Churchill Brothers 4-2 and advanced to the AFC Cup’s quarterfinals.
After the match, players were told to disperse until their next AFC Cup match in August while VFF has not taken any measure against Vissai Ninh Binh for withdrawing from V-League without a proper reason, Bong Da (Football) newspaper reported.
The situation has left the players who didn't participate in the scheme high and dry.
The club, which currently owes its players three months salary and other allowances, pledged to pay after the AFC Cup.
“By May, we'll owe the players three months salary and bonuses for their performance at the AFC Cup and national cup,” the paper quoted Vissai Ninh Binh Chairman Pham Van Le as saying.
“I am not revealing further details because they're confidential. The club's dealing with a lot of problems but we will pay them all.”

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