In my previous post, I made a brief introduction of the top scorers of one of the greatest football leagues around the world, namely “La Liga”. The European football is one of the most attractive around the globe and most of the smaller leagues around the world intend to reach a level closer to European football leagues. One of these leagues is the Vietnamese League 1. It has been founded in 1980 and nowadays it includes 14 teams that are playing to win the title. During the time, the Vietnamese League 1 had many important sponsors such as PepsiCo or Eximbank and starting from 2015 this football league is sponsored by Toyota.
Soccer Fans and Gambling in Vietnam
Due to the globalization, nowadays you may watch European football leagues from all over the world, even from Vietnam. Gambling on football games is a common practice in many countries in the world and if you are a soccer fan, then you might be interested in gambling on football games. In 2000, in Vietnam the amount that was involved in gambling reached about $ 1 billion. This is a great amount of money for a country with many poor people. Because many gambling activities were related to the black market, there were many government initiatives trying to solve these issues. Recently, in February 2017, the Vietnamese government launched a pilot programme that allows people over 21 years to bet on football games. But there is a limit on the amount that can be set to $ 44. And for sure this limit is not very appreciated by the soccer fans, but there are also many people who are against the legalization of football gambling.
Fixing Match and Gambling in Vietnamese Soccer
Because football games may generate a lot of passion, these sport events generate a lot of money on marketing, television and fan clubs. In the previous paragraph, we have mentioned some details about betting on soccer games in Vietnam. Even if the Vietnamese football bosses tried to solve the illegal gambling, there was no success. On the contrary, in the years after 2000, there were many problems with illegal betting on football games and fixing matches. If you read many articles in the media, you may discover that important “actors” in the football domain, such as coaches, players, referees were suspected of fixing football matches. Alongside coaches, players, referees, there were arrested also football teams’ officials and bookmakers, as we may find out by reading many articles in the media. Even if betting on football events was illegal, there were large amounts of money that were involved in this practice and even after the gambling was pushed to become legal, the plague of fixing matches was still present in the Vietnamese Football League.
The arrests and investigations regarding gambling and fixing matches in the Vietnamese Football League have toured worldwide. Important media sources such as Associated Press and People’s Daily have reported that even important players that are part of the Vietnam national football team were arrested because they were involved in fixing matches during the Southeast Asian Games in 2005.Illegal gambling and especially fixing matches in the Vietnamese League 1 and Asian Football Confederation Cup may be seen as a very bad image for the Vietnamese soccer. Many potential sponsors may stay away from the Vietnamese League 1 as a consequence of the arrests and investigations that have affected Vietnamese soccer in the last years. Illegal gambling and fixing matches may be seen as a heavy burden for the Vietnamese soccer and it will be very hard for this soccer to clean up its image in the international football community.
In the Vietnamese football, there were some efforts that were trying to solve issues related to illegal gambling. But even after football betting was legalised, there were important problems in the Vietnamese football, problems caused by fixing matches at the highest levels such as in the Vietnamese League 1 or Asian Football Confederation Cup. It seems that the Vietnamese football bosses and the Vietnamese government have to make more efforts to tackle these challenges in order to have a healthier soccer in the country.