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Former coach and ex-Nigeria international Samson Siasia is not in agreement with the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) verdict on the match fixing charge brought against him by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

According to the Guardian Nigeria, an associate of the former U20 coach, Waidi Akanni had said Siasia does not accept the verdict of CAS on the match fixing charge brought against him. FIFA had banned the Olympic Silver Medallist (coach) in 2019 from all football related activities for an alleged involvement and plot to fix matches. Siasia was also imposed a CHF 50,000 fine.

The decision of FIFA to sanction Siasia was on the liaison with Wilson Raj Perumal who was convicted of match-fixing from Singapore. Subsequently, FIFA had defended their decision, that it tried to contract Siasia via email, however, that the ex-Nigeria international did not reply to any of its messages.

‘Guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics’. FIFA said. Siasia was fined 50,000 Swiss Francs ($54,000).

But in a swift reaction to the decision by FIFA, Siasia in seeking for justice took the matter to the Court of Arbitration Sport which hearing was scheduled on the March 19, 2020 but was postponed due to the global Coronavirus pandemic and restrictions by authorities to check the spread.  

But Siasia had the opportunity recently via virtually session to defend the alleged charges before the world adjudicatory body. In CAS verdict, the body said the imposition of a life ban was ‘disproportionate for a first offence which was committed passively and which had not an adverse or immediate effect on football stakeholders.’

“The panel acknowledged the need for sanctions to be sufficiently high enough to eradicate bribery and especially match fixing in football.” CAS said.

“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

However, an associate to the former Nigeria striker, Akanni frowns at the CAS that it could still punish him for ‘an offence he did not commit.

“I am not a lawyer, but CAS showed from its statements that it has no evidence to prove that Siasia accepted to fix games. Akanni said.

He further asked what is the meaning of passive crime? Who are the players he recruited to want to rig games. And he simply stated, the guy wanted to give him a job and nothing else. He declared that the fight is still on.

“Siasia will eventually release the emails he exchanged with Perumal. There was no collateral damage to anybody. If they had any evidence they should release it to the world.”

Akanni said that Siasia never knew about the judgment until he called to inform him, adding “unfortunately, Samson doesn’t read this emails.

“I am shocked that after paying all the money, this is the judgment he gets. They had zoom meeting with CAS and he stated everything that transpired between him and Perumal. They know that if they freed him, he would sue them for disrupting his life unjustly for two years. The battle is still on.”

Meanwhile, Akanni has called on Nigerians to rally round the ex-Nigeria coach, Siasia.

Samson Siasia scored the game opening goal against Argentina at the USA 94 World Cup in Nigeria’s 2-1 loss to Argentina in the group stage. He led Nigeria’s Dream Team to the final of the 2008 Beijing Olympics losing 2-1 to Argentina, starring Lionel Messi, while Nigeria paraded the likes of John Mikel Obi, goalkeeper Ambrose Vanzekin, Chinedu Ogbuke and Sanni Kaita. He also achieved the feat as the most decorated African football coach at the Olympics, winning the bronze at 2016 Games in Rio to his previous silver in 2008.

Siasia won laurels as the coach of Nigeria’s U20 and U23 in 2005 and 2015 respectively. He also won the African Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles in Tunisia 94 under coach Clement Westerhof. 

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