Vietnam’s football plagued by illegal gambling

April 20, 2008

Vietnam’s football plagued by illegal gambling
Le Huynh Duc coaches his Da Nang football club players before their clash with Binh Duong on April 15

An early curfew and a lack of entertainment have caused many Vietnamese footballers to resort to gambling for fun – an illegal activity in Vietnam.

For some, this has had an extremely negative effect on their career and home life.

Gambling has become an insidious problem in Vietnamese football with some players involving themselves in match fixing and others finding themselves deep in debt.

The most notorious case of match fixing occurred at the 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines where two star players, Van Quyen and Quoc Vuong, admitted they had fixed a match out of desperation to pay off gambling debts.

Vuong is now in prison serving a four-year sentence and Quyen is suspended from playing football until 2009.

The latest case

It has been reported that Da Nang club coach Le Huynh Duc recently caught several of his players gambling for money before an 11th round V-League game against Southern Steel Saigon Port.

Coach Duc allegedly found them gambling in the room of captain Hong Minh and assistant coach Hung Dung.

According to reports, midfielder Duc Nhat attempted to jump out a window to escape getting caught, but was stopped by the coach who ordered him back inside saying “I’ll be in big trouble if you die.”

Duc apparently reprimanded assistant coach Dung as well, telling him he ought to be more responsible as a senior member and role model to his young players.

Coach Duc reported the incident to city authorities and Da Nang Club Deputy Executive Nguyen Quoc Hung who manages the club footballers.

Dung has now been removed from his post as the club’s assistant coach and central defender Cao Cuong has stepped in to take over the position.

Team captain Hong Minh has also been made to hand over his title and signature armband to defender Quoc Cuong.

The penalization of so many team members has thrown the Da Nang club into chaos with some saying that coach Duc was biased in handing out punishments.

He has been accused of disciplining only those players that he could find replacements for.

For example, Cao Cuong received only a warning and some say it was simply because Duc couldn’t find anyone else to cover his central defense position.

Midfielder Phan Thanh Hung received the most severe punishment.

He was demoted to the B-level team without being told when he can return to the A-level.

Whatever the reason for Duc’s decision, it is yet another example of how the Da Nang Club has suffered troubled times and poor management.

Club Deputy Executive Hung admitted he had heard several negative rumors about the team before taking the job.

“That’s why Hien, the club boss, had asked me to keep a close watch over the players.

I had been here just 20 days, and the gambling incidenthappened,” Hung said.

Last year, Da Nang City authorities arranged for an experienced supervisor to work with the team and to help encourage better management, but it has so far failed to prove an effective measure.

The Da Nang football team has been notorious for years for its poor management and every year there are new reports of illegal gambling activity amongst players and coaches.

And the problem is not limited to the central city.

Illegal gambling has marred the reputation of several footballers nationwide and some players have even gone flat broke betting on international football matches.

Reported by Ngoc Hoa

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