By Jennifer Ugwueke
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia’s life ban from football to five years.
FIFA had in 2019 sanctioned the Nigerian for accepting to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.” The 53-year-old had appealed the sanction, denying the charges leveled against him.
But on Monday, CAS said it “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.”
CAS also overturned a fine of $5000 imposed on the former Nigerian striker by FIFA, backdating the life ban to begin from 16 August 2019.
“(Cas) acknowledged the need for sanctions to be sufficiently high enough to eradicate bribery and especially match-fixing in football,” the judges ruled.
“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.”
In 2010, CAS explained, a match-fixer tried to involve Siasia as a coach of a club under his (fixer’s) strict directives. The Nigerian was promised employment benefits if he fielded some players under the control of the match-fixer.
Negotiations between the match-fixer and Siasia about the terms of employment were carried out by email for two months.
But the unnamed club did not accept the former Flying Eagles gaffer’s requests which led to the collapse of negotiations.