Thursday, March 15, 2007

No early return for six jailed Vietnam footballers

Vietnam Football Federation has quashed speculation that six national team players convicted of match fixing will be allowed to return early from suspension and play in this year's South East Asian (SEA) Games in Thailand. Pham Van Quyen, Chau Le Phuoc Vinh, Le Van Truong, Tran Hai Lam, Le Bat Hieu and Huynh Quoc Anh were given suspended jail terms of between two and two-and-a-half years in January for fixing a SEA Games match in 2005. "I can confirm 100 percent the six players will be suspended for at least two years," Nguyen Hai Huong, head of the VFF disciplinary department, was quoted by state media as saying.

Huong admitted that the court's verdict had allowed the players to return to the field, but having suspended another player for the same offence the VFF would not let the others off the hook, he said. Lee Quoc Vuong was jailed for six years and fined $25,600 while Truong Tan Hai was given a three-year term. Ly Quoc Ky, the alleged leader of an illegal gambling syndicate, remains at large. "The six internationals should not receive a milder punishment," he was quoted as saying. The six were found guilty of accepting payment to ensure Vietnam beat minnows Myanmar by a single goal in a SEA Games group match in the Philippines in 2005.

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