More charged with Saigon Pt's V-League 2001 title

Vietnam's central police department will go ahead with judicial proceedings against four footballers and a team driver for bribery in the 2001 V-League football season. Footballers Ho Van Loi and Huynh Hong Son (pictured centre) were arrested Thursday evening and jailed in T26 prison in northern Ha Tay province, 55 km from Hanoi, while the others Nguyen Van Phung, Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Chuong and driver Bui Xuan Thuy were indicted for receiving bribes. The five were on staff with Saigon Port football club in 2000-01 when it is alleged they used VND250 million (US$15,700) to commit bribery with Nguyen Huu Thang, assistant coach of Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) football club.

When the case came to light in late 2005 following statements from the formerly imprisoned Huu Thang, the four footballers returned VND40 million ($2,500) each that they admitted having received in the affair. Driver Thuy returned VND1.5 million ($95).

Police told Thanh Nien News they have evidence and statements to back their claim that Huu Thang had used the money to buy SLNA the V-League championship title in 2001. Thang gave money to both Saigon Port and Song Da Nam Dinh (SDND) to ensure that the former would win their final round match. By doing this, SLNA would take the title from SDND, as the two were the only teams in contention for the title in the final week of the season.

So far, 11 people have been indicted for bribery, including five officials – Nguyen Hoang Thu, former director of sport in the central Nghe An province; Nguyen Hong Thanh, former SLNA managing director; Nguyen Thanh Vinh, SLNA head coach; Nguyen Huu Thang and Nguyen Xuan Vinh, SLNA assistant coaches; and six footballers, Truong Tan Hai, Huynh Hong Son, Ho Van Loi, Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Chuong, Nguyen Van Phung, and Bui Xuan Thuy.

See also: Vietnam SEA Games players face more charges (27 Apr)