Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Vietnam FA VP resigns, FIFA fines hits players

A vice chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation has resigned following allegations of match-fixing by players in the recent South East Asian Games. Vietnam beat Myanmar 1-0 after some Vietnamese players appeared to slow down their play and Vietnamese police are also investigating allegations of an attempt to fix another match with Malaysia that Vietnam won 2-1.

Federation vice chairman Le The Tho’s resignation has already been accepted, AFP reported. Tho was quoted as saying he was quitting because of unfair allegations. “Some newspapers carried inaccurate information aimed at undermining my reputation ... I voluntarily resign from the VFF standing committee,” he said.

Two Vietnamese footballers jailed last week for further interrogation over the SEA Games 23 match fixing, Pham Van Quyen and Le Quoc Vuong, will be each fined US$ 23,000 by world’s football governing body, FIFA. The Vietnam Football Federation will be responsible for paying the fine in case the two footballers fail to cover it, according to FIFA regulations.

FIFA rules stipulate that a footballer who is confirmed of match fixing by authorities will be fined for CHF15,000, and any of its members must send a report to FIFA after attending every international football tournament including invitational tournaments.

However, Vietnam will not be stripped of football silver medal it earned at SEA Games 23 because none of the regulations of the South East Asian Games cover match fixing, Thanh Nien reported.

SEA Games organizers in the Philippines said they were disappointed by the revelations but pleased that Vietnam had brought the matter under investigation.

"I'm saddened by the fact that there are these kind of athletes that competed in the SEA Games, but at the same time I'm glad the Vietnamese officials were able to discover and bring this matter to the attention of the police," Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Robert Aventajado told Associated Press in Manila.

The VFF has received warm support from FIFA for its efforts to clean up Vietnamese football. “With football matches happening 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it’s possible for a match-fixing epidemic to strike anytime. We don’t live in a perfect world, so the responsibility falls to national football federations to work together with FIFA to preserve the pureness of football,” FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi previously commented.

See also: Vietnam SEA Games footballers jailed for graft (25 Dec) and Latest football match-fixing "must be eliminated" (18 Oct).

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