By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced former Super Eagles striker Samson Siasia’s life-ban from football for bribery to five years.
Siasia was initially sanctioned in 2019 by world football governing body FIFA for agreeing to ‘receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.’
The 53-year-old appealed against the ban with FIFA and CAS as he denied the charges against him.
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 as the court explained the background to the case.
‘In 2010, a match fixer tried to involve Mr Siasia as a coach of a club under his strict instructions,’ CAS revealed.
‘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.’
The court also cancelled a fine of $50,000 that had also been part of the sanctions imposed by FIFA.
‘(CAS) acknowledged the need for sanctions to be sufficiently high enough to eradicate bribery and especially match-fixing in football.
‘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.’
Fides recalls that Siasia was a member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 AFCON in Tunisia and also featured at the World Cup that same year.
He led the Flying Eagles to win the 2005 CAF U-20 AFCON and also in the same year led the team to second place finish at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands.
As coach Of the U-23 Eagles, he won the 2015 CAF U-23 AFCON and helped the team win silver and bronze at the Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Olympics respectively.