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Vietnamese football tries to clean up its act
Updated: 2005-10-02 14:24

HANOI (AFP) - Embarrassed by corruption and match-fixing scandals, football bosses in Vietnam have launched a belated attempt to try and clean up the game, which has a passionate following in the country.

Vietnamese football tries to clean up its act
A policeman escorts Vu Tien Thanh (R), manager of the leading Vietnamese football club Dong A, out of his residence in Ho Chi Minh City, 30 August, as he is arrested pending inquiries into match-fixing allegations. [AFP]
"Dark forces have manipulated several players and referees," Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) vice president Vu Quang Vinh told AFP.

"We must resolutely eliminate all corrupt people, even if we have to give up national and international competitions.

"That's a price worth paying in order to totally overhaul Vietnamese football and make it strong, clean and solid."

For many though it is a case of too little too late as it is openly admitted that corruption pervades Vietnamese football with several networks of referees, coaches, club managers and players implicated in match-fixing.

Referee Luong Trung Viet and Vu Tien Thanh, the manager of leading club Dong A, were detained in August pending inquiries into match-fixing allegations.

Viet and his three assistants were accused of taking 20 million dong (neaarly 1,300 dollars) from the national V-league team to fix a match in April.

Since the authorities began to clamp down, there are signs that the tide of corruption could be starting to turn. Police said that up to 10 referees have turned themselves in over the past week and returned their bribe money.

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