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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 11:05 GMT
Vietnam jails footballers for fix
Midfielder Le Quoc Vuong goes on trial in Ho Chi Minh city
Vice captain Le Quoc Vuong received the longest jail term
Two former Vietnamese footballers have been given jail sentences for fixing an international match.

Six other players - including a popular striker - were given suspended prison sentences.

The eight were found guilty of taking bribes to ensure they beat underdogs Burma by no more than 1-0 at the South East Asian Games in December 2005.

The scandal is one of several involving gambling and bribery to have hit Vietnamese football in recent times.

The national team's vice-captain, Le Quoc Vuong, was jailed for six years for organising the scam and bribing his fellow players.

A former Saigon Port club player, Truong Tan Hai, was given a three year sentence for acting as a middleman between the team and a local betting syndicate.

The other six players - including one of the country's best known players, striker Pham Van Quyen - were given suspended sentences of up to two-and-a-half years.

'Murky world'

The team were strong favourites to beat Burma in the under-23 match at the games in the Philippines.

"The defendants used their football careers to organise gambling for money," Judge Le Van Ba told the court in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam footballers on trial in Ho Chi Minh city on 25 January 2006
Some of Vietnam's best-known players were in the dock

Hundreds of reporters, relatives and fans descended on the court for the two-day trial.

The case has shone a light into the murky world of organised betting rings in Vietnam, the BBC's Bill Hayton in Hanoi says.

Gambling is widespread in Vietnam, despite being banned, and millions of dollars often change hands during football matches.

There have been a series of corruption scandals in the domestic league.

More than 30 players and referees are currently being investigated as part of the country's "clean hands campaign", our correspondent says.

Vietnamese football officials have said they hope this case will serve as a warning to others.

"We need to have strong measures to cleanse our soccer, particularly the vices of match-fixing and gambling," Vu Quang Vinh, vice president of the Vietnam Football Federation, said earlier this week.




SEE ALSO
Vietnam footballers go on trial
25 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Gambling and graft in Vietnam
13 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
More Vietnam football stars held
28 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam football stars arrested
21 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Vietnam
01 Oct 05 |  Country profiles

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