Vietnam PM calls for police speed on match fixing

Vietnam's prime minister Phan Van Khai has urged police to speed up investigation of alleged match-fixing during the South East Asian Games in the Philippines earlier this month. He asked police to give their findings by 15 January into allegations that the country's Under-23 match against Myanmar had been fixed, Tran Duy Ly from the Vietnam Football Federation told AFP.

Vietnam beat Myanmar 1-0 but state media described it as an "arranged" result as some Vietnamese players appeared to slow down their play.

Several newspapers said one player, Van Quyen, told police that he had received an envelope stuffed with 23 million dong from two women in Ho Chi Minh City on his way back to Hanoi from Manila. Police are investigating whether the exchange was linked to match-fixing and are also looking into an alleged attempt to fix another match with Malaysia, which Vietnam won 2-1.

"The scandal may have an impact on some players and clubs but we step back now in order to move forward. Our aim is to purify Vietnam's football," Ly said.

State media noted that match-fixing had already occurred in the past. The late Nam Cam, one of the most powerful mafia bosses in the country, was believed to have fixed some matches in the 2001 SEA Games in Malaysia. He was executed last year for murder and bribery.

Vietnam police said they had detected a huge football betting network after the arrest last week of 22 policemen found gambling in a Hanoi park. According to AFCMedia, “investigations showed that an international game cost around VND6 billion, or around US$ 378,000 to ‘buy’.”

See also: V-League kicks off 2006 with corrupt club dropped (12 Dec) and Latest football match-fixing "must be eliminated" (18 Oct).