The Vietnam Police and the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) signed a co-operation agreement recently aimed at stamping out match-fixing in the national V-League.
The agreement follows a string of match-fixing scandals, in a country where gambling is widespread, despite being banned. The two sides agreed to keep a close watch on every V-League match for possible signs of match-fixing and continue efforts to ensure fair and safe football matches.
"In the past, the VFF have worked with the police to catch and penalise those responsible for match-fixing," said VFF chairman Nguyen Trong Hy.
"At the SEA Games in the Philippines in 2005, seven Vietnamese national players were jailed for match-fixing, and these arrests are a result of the co-operation between the VFF and police."
However Colonel Ho Sy Tien, the deputy head of the police investigation department, admitted that in order to effectively battle match-fixing and corruption in football, the Vietnam government may have to legalise some form of football betting.
"Legal betting would be an effective way to clear out the match-fixing and illegal betting problem in Vietnam," said Sy Tien. "We have taken measures to prevent match-fixing in football as well as in other sports.“
In 2006, police said the ‘clean hands' campaign resulted in 1,554 people being arrested in 348 cases of illegal betting uncovered by police in 39 of the country's 64 provinces and cities.
Authorities also seized VND3.5 billion (USD219,400) and USD31,762 in cash, 160 motorbikes, 13 cars, 382 cell phones and 54 computers. The new co-operation agreement between football and police authorities also notes concerns about safety at matches.
The national league, which began it's season in January, was hit with outbreak of violence on and off the field at several some matches.
Colonel Tien said police authorities always arrange riot forces to ensure security at stadiums during every V-League match. - AFF.