Siasia’s ‘excessive’ life ban reduced to five years
FORMER Super Eagles head coach Samson Siasia has had his life ban from football reduced.
He was banned for bribery by FIFA but he took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport who has now reduced it to five years.
Siasia, 53, was initially sanctioned in 2019 by FIFA for agreeing to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.”
The former Super Eagles striker appealed against the ban and stridently denied the charges against him.
In its ruling released on Monday, CAS “determined the imposition of a life ban to be disproportionate for a first offence which was committed passively and which had not had an adverse or immediate effect on football stakeholders, and that a five-year ban would still achieve the envisaged aim of punishing the infringement committed by Mr Siasia.”
The ban has been backdated to start on 16 August 2019, meaning Siasia has three more years to serve.
“In 2010, a match fixer tried to involve Mr Siasia as a coach of a club under his strict instructions,” sports’ highest arbitrator CAS explained.
“With the promise of employment benefits, Mr Siasia would have had to always field several players under the control of the match fixer.
“The negotiations between the match fixer and Mr Siasia in relation to the conditions of employment were conducted by email over a period of two months.
“Eventually, the club did not accept or could not afford Mr Siasia’s requests and the negotiations ended.”
Further in its ruling, CAS also cancelled a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ( about $50,000) that had been imposed on Siasia as part of FIFA’s harsh sanctions.
“CAS acknowledged the need for sanctions to be sufficiently high enough to eradicate bribery and especially match-fixing in football,” the court noted.
“However, the Panel considered in the particular circumstances of this matter that it would be inappropriate and excessive to impose a financial sanction in addition to the five-year ban, since the ban sanction already incorporated a financial punishment in eliminating football as a source of revenue for Mr Siasia.
“And considering that Mr Siasia had not obtained any gain or pecuniary benefit from his unethical behaviour.”
Siasia was a key member of the Super Eagles’ 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winning squad and helped Nigeria qualify for the country’s first World Cup that same year.
He earned 51 Super Eagles caps and scored 16 goals, and played club football in Belgium, France and Australia.
Siasia coached Nigeria’s U-20s, which included Mikel Obi, to the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2005, and guided the U-23s to Olympic medals in 2008 (silver) and 2016 (bronze) before briefly coaching the Super Eagles in 2016.