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HANOI - Vietnam's football development has been set back years by the match-fixing scandal that landed two players in jail this week, the sport's chief was quoted as saying at the weekend.
"We have lost a young generation which would have contributed to Vietnamese football in the long term, and it is very painful," Nguyen Trong Hy, chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), told the Tuoi Tre daily.
Last Friday the Ho Chi Minh City people's court jailed two defendants and handed suspended prison terms to six players of the national under-23 side who accepted bribes to rig a 2005 international match against Myanmar.
Popular striker Pham Van Quyen, 22, and his teammates spent several months in jail after the South East Asian Games match in Manila.
They have been off the field since, and their sporting future remains unclear, with VFF disciplinary hearings expected soon.
"The trial is over, but it has left many lessons and questions for the sport in Vietnam," the An Ninh Thu Do (Hanoi Security) newspaper commented on Saturday.
"It was a lesson about bad management by sports officials who cared only about professional success but not the moral education of the players."
Hy said the federation's disciplinary section will now consider the cases of the players, who accepted $1250 (about R10500) each in return for arranging a narrow 1-0 win against underdogs Myanmar on behalf of a betting syndicate.
In the trial, which captivated the football-obsessed nation, vice- captain Le Quoc Vuong was jailed for six years on Friday and fined $25 600 on charges of gambling and organising gambling.
Truong Tan Hai, a former Saigon Port club player, was jailed for three years for acting as the middleman between the team in the Philippines and the betting syndicate's kingpin, Ly Quoc Ky, who is still at large. - Sapa-AFP