Vietnamese referees and club officials face prosecution for bribery

June 12, 2006

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Vietnam's Investigation Agency under the Ministry of Public Security have proposed that 17 people, including referees and officials of soccer clubs, should be prosecuted for receiving or giving bribes, local media reported Friday.

Of the 17 men, five have been detained, including the FIFA-recognized referee Truong The Toan, Young People newspaper reported. Toan is the sole Vietnamese referee having acted as a referee in a match at 2004 Athens Olympics.

The bribery scandal case was first investigated in August 2005, when local police found that a local referee named Luong Trung Viet and three assistants received a bribe of 130 million Vietnamese dong (nearly 8,200 U.S. dollars) from the management board of the Dong A-Pomina Steel Club so that they would fix a first-division game in April 2005 in the club's favor.

Since then, the police have found more referees and club officials had been involved in fixing games over the past two years. More than 40 local people, including referees, coaches and sports officials, have been convened to the agency for match rigging allegations.

The corrupt referees received bribes from coaches and managers of clubs to rule in favor of the bribe-giving teams, helping them have better results or not to be relegated in national tournaments.

Source: Xinhua

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