Vietnamese football acts to clean up corruption

Football leaders in Vietnam have launched a campaign to clean up the game following embarrassing discloures of corruption and match-fixind. "Dark forces have manipulated several players and referees," Vietnam Football Federation vice president Vu Quang Vinh told AFP newsagency. "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," he said.

Referee Luong Trung Viet and Vu Tien Thanh, the manager of leading club Dong A (pictured above with police), 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.

Last year, the VFF admitted it had drawn up a "blacklist" of 75 people including top players however the names have not been made public. Police said that up to 10 referees have turned themselves in over the past week and returned their bribe money.

"These people only want money. They have betrayed millions of fans here," fumed sports journalist Dang Tuan Hung at Ho Chi Minh City's The Thao daily. "Never before were players' and referees' reputations as tainted," said Hung.

The VFF "has no choice but to take legal action against some people," said Thanh Nien daily's Thanh Thao, one of the most influential commentators on Vietnam's football scene. "Can they really clean up Vietnamese football and rebuild from scratch? I doubt it," Thao told AFP.

See also: Scandals cause sponsor problems for V-League (1 Oct)