Vietnam battles new scams in football clean-up

Quoting estimates of Deloitte, an international auditing firm, Saigon Liberation newpaper reported that Vietnam's illegal betting market is valued at US 1 billion. Vietnamese police detected a total of 348 cases of football betting in 39 cities and provinces nationwide with the involvement of 1,554 people during the World Cup 2006. They confiscated over 3. 4 billion Vietnamese dong (US$ 213,800) and more than US$ 100,000, the newspaper said.

Meantime, Vietnam's football chief admits he is facing a headache about a new kind of match-fixing for which there is no law to prevent. Nguyen Trong Hy, the chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation, said that unlike the common practice of fixing scorelines in return for cash, league sides were deliberately losing matches to help other teams stave off relegation, the Thanh Nien daily reported. Hy described the practice as "immoral philanthropy" but admitted it was a test to existing legislation as no money had changed hands. Games were being deliberately lost as a result of close ties between managers and owners of different clubs, who were exchanging favours to guarantee survival in Vietnam's top flight, the daily quoted him as saying. Police have launched a probe into mid-table Danang's 2-0 loss to bottom side Tien Giang on 13 August which they described as the most dubious game of the season, the report said.

While Vietnam has been tainted by a string of match-fixing scandals, the most high-profile taking place during last year's South East Asian Games in the Philippines, police also state that 2006 has been football's "cleanest" year yet.