Vietnam players charged with match-fixing

December 21, 2005

HANOI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Two national soccer players have been charged with fixing matches at the South-east Asian Games held in the Philippines last month, state media reported on Wednesday.

Leading striker Pham Van Quyen and his teammate Le Quoc Vuong were taken to a detention centre near Hanoi on Tuesday after being formally charged with 'gambling and organising gambling,' the police-run An Ninh Thu Do newspaper said.

The offence carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years, the newspaper said.

The two players are accused of receiving payments from Vietnamese gamblers to fix matches against Myanmar and Malaysia.

'I am not surprised about Quyen's arrest,' Vietnam Football Federation chairman Nguyen Trong Hy was quoted by the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper as saying. 'Quyen was a good player but too spoiled.'

Vietnam beat Myanmar 1-0 and Malaysia 2-1 but were defeated by Thailand at the final.

Vietnamese police launched a 'clean hands' campaign in September this year to eliminate pervasive corruption in soccer.

Some 20 referees, coaches and sports officials are facing criminal charges for match fixing.