“Play-acting” is how football (soccer) fans often describe the performance of those playing recent matches at the top-tier V-League 1 in Vietnam.
In the closing stage of the V-League 1, those clubs that have accumulated enough points to stay in the competition but are ineligible to compete for titles tend to ‘slack off’ and lose games with teams that are in desperate need of points to avoid being relegated.
Supporters and coaches have asked police to step in to investigate allegations of match-fixing in recent games when the premier football league in the Southeast Asian country is reaching its final stage.
A common characteristic of Vietnamese football, especially in the top leagues, is the “donation” of points between clubs, not for money but for maintaining their relations.
The V-League 1, where 14 clubs are competing, has gone through a total of 25 rounds and will wrap up after the 26th round next week.
The most notorious match of the 25th round was the encounter between Dong Nai and Khanh Hoa, which ended with a 1-0 win for the former.
Tran Binh Su, coach of the winning team Dong Nai, stressed that police should look into the suspected rigging of recent matches.
He added that the Vietnam Professional Football, a company that organizes football leagues under the Vietnam Football Federation, must take responsibility for those matches subtly “thrown” by some teams.
The results of several other games of the 25th round on Sunday were “not beyond the predictions of the supporters.”
Dong Tam Long An played a match without any striker in their front line while facing Hoang Anh Gia Lai who were battling relegation.
And Hoang Anh Gia Lai managed to earn a point from a goalless draw yesterday, resulting in their stay in the V-League 1 next season.
During another match on Sunday between Can Tho and Dong Thap, their supporters called for the referee to “end the game” in the 40th minute so that the players of both sides did not need to “sham” more because all they needed was just a draw.
And the final result was 1-1, leading to Dong Thap continuing to play in the league next season while Can Tho have almost escaped relegation.
Dong Nai now stand at the bottom of the table after 25 rounds, with only 21 points.
With the league to end next week, either Dong Nai or Can Tho will get relegated but the latter are nearly to stay in the league next season thanks to their better statistics.