Vietnamese police release five football officials

Vietnamese police have released five football officials who had been detained on suspicion of involvement in match-fixing. Nguyen Thanh Vinh, former coach of V-League club Song Lam Nghe An; Tran Manh Cuong, the club’s assistant coach; and three referees Nguyen Quang Huy, Nguyen Tien Dung, and Pham Cong Duc had been arrested along with nine others last year on allegations of bribing referees to the tune of VND130 million (US$8,125) in 2004 to help First Division club East Asia Bank–Pomina Steel get promoted to the topflight V-League.

While the other nine, seven referees, a former coach, and the director of a provincial sports department, will appear in court next July, Nguyen Thanh Vinh has already been convicted in another bribery case. In 2000-01, when he was with V-League club Song Lam Nghe An, he bribed a referee VND100 million ($6,250) so that his club could win the title. According to Thanh Nien, Prosecutors have recommended 13-20 years in jail for the 61-year-old coach.