At 18.30 yesterday, Police arrested U-23 striker Pham Van Quyen and halfback Le Quoc Vuong for organized gambling in an SEA Games match fixing case. Perhaps the entire Vietnamese national team will be arrested, at least five members are suspected of being involved in the scandal. Although the biggest disgrace thus far, crime related to Vietnamese football has been making headlines all year, from referees all the way up to government officials.
Gangster "Nguyen Manh Hung, alias Manh ‘beu’, arrested last year, in a statement to police said his ring has bribed many athletes, coaches, referees, and officials in Vietnam." (Thanh Nien)
The problem has become so common that when told about the latest arrests, (Committee of Sports and Physical Training) Minister Nguyen Danh Thai said he was not surprised."I was not shocked by the news that some players fixed matches," he was quoted as telling the state newspaper Thanh Nien. (BBC)
The leader explained the Committee and the Vietnam Football Federation were definitely not subjective in working out plans to prevent corruption and unveil it if it happened. (Thanh Nien)
Not suprised that the committee that you chair is reluctant to reveal corruption? It shows how acceptable dishonesty in competition is here in Vietnam. Imagine if the US Olympic DreamTeam was arrested for fixing games. What is it with Vietnamese and cheating that is so rampant lately (read yesterday's entry about art cheating)? When I wrote earlier that when it comes to commanding public attention, the arts are not rival for the entertainment industry. The same analogy can be made for entertainment when paired with soccer. The city shuts down during soccer matches. The players are each celebrities. Cheating at neighborhood matches is one thing, but when there's cheating at an international level, politics and national reputation are at stake. There WILL be significant fallout from this. Myanmar gets the reprimand from ASEAN, next it will be Vietnam for SEAGAMES. Disgrace.
During the 2005 SEAGAMES, there was a media frenzy surrounding comments by Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who implied that the judging at the Games was not honest. A Thai spokesman later apologized for the comment and said that perhaps the Prime Minister's comments were misunderstood. Now we know. Being an avid football fan himself, once trying to buy a stake in Manchester United, he should have pointed the dishonesty charge to Vietnam. Luckily, and as much of a sacrilege it is to say, I'm glad Thailand trounced Vietnam in the final football match.
BBC. Vietnamese Football Stars Arrested
VietnamNet. Van Quyen, Quoc Vuong arrested and charged
Thanh Nien News. Is the VFF responsible for football corruption in Vietnam?
Thanh Nien News. Vietnam match fixing backed by major betting gangs
Thanh Nien News. Plans in place to tackle SEA Games match fixing
Posted by on December 21, 2005 9:14 AM | Permalink