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Legalized Betting May Be the Answer: AFC
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A Legalized betting system is vital to winning the battle against match-fixing, according to Asian Football Confederation general secretary Peter Velappan.
With Vietnamese soccer dogged by yet another fixing scandal, Velappan believes Singapore's approach to organized gambling can act as an example to its Southeast Asian neighbors.

"We have seen football corruption in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in the past," Velappan said on a recent visit to Singapore.

"Singapore had also come under the spotlight previously but they've always been very active in trying to stamp out football corruption.

"The AFC are very satisfied with what Singapore is doing to weed out match-fixing," he told the Today newspaper.

"Other countries are doing their part but Singapore are a good role model as far as tackling football corruption."

Velappan said he was planning to send Vietnamese Football Federation (VFF) delegates to Singapore to study the city state's legalized gambling system.

"It is definitely one way for Vietnam to eliminate illegal gambling," Velappan told the newspaper.

"From what the police are doing right now, Vietnam are showing that they are serious about wiping corruption out of their football."

Last week, Vietnamese police said they had identified the man behind a match-fixing scandal at last year's Southeast Asian Games.

Ly Quoc Ky is accused of running an underground betting ring which allegedly paid players to fix the scoreline of Vietnam's group stage match with Myanmar at the 2005 SEA Games soccer tournament in the Philippines.

Police said Ky had gone on the run and ignored calls to turn himself in to face the charges.

He is accused of paying seven players 500 million dong (US$31,000) each to ensure Vietnam won the game by a single goal.

A slender victory for Vietnam against the much weaker Myanmar attracted favorable odds, given the country's high scoring record going into the tournament.

Seven people linked to the match are currently in detention awaiting trial, six of whom are under house arrest.

(Shanghai Daily September 13, 2006)

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