Vietnam police detain soccer players over match-fixing claims

HANOI (REUTERS) - Police have detained six Vietnamese soccer players on suspicion of throwing a domestic league game at the weekend, state-run media reported on Monday, the latest arrests in a country notorious for match-rigging and illicit sports gambling.

The six Dong Nai players were questioned by police investigators immediately after their 5-3 defeat by Quang Ninh in a top flight V.League match, Vietnam Television said in an online report (

Police declined to comment.

Match-fixing has long plagued Vietnamese soccer, with arrests of coaches, bookmakers and players commonplace.

Soccer is the most popular sport and gambling is rampant, despite being strictly illegal.

Police made dozens of arrests during the World Cup and carried out raids on underground gangs that were handling at least 6.5 trillion dong (S$390 million).

Local soccer bosses have pushed to legalise sports betting in conservative Vietnam to stifle match-fixing and boost tax revenues, capping bets at 1 million dong. But after 14 years, efforts have proved fruitless.

In April, local side Vissai Ninh Binh withdrew from the V.League over a match-fixing scandal in the Asian Football Confederation Cup.