A former Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia, who was handed a life ban by the world football governing body FIFA over match-fixing allegations has had his punishment reduced to a five-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
The reduction of Siasia’s punishment was communicated via an official statement by CAS on Monday.
According to CAS, a life ban for a first time offender who was also passive in the said offence was inappropriate though such acts need to be punished all the same to serve as a deterrent to others.
As revealed by CAS, in 2010, a match-fixer tried to involve Siasia as a coach of a club under his strict instructions. With the promise of employment benefits, Siasia would have had to always field several players under the control of the match-fixer. The negotiations between the match-fixer and 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.
On this premise, the CAS Panel confirmed the Challenged Decision and reduced the punishment for the ex-Super Eagles star. “Mr Siasia is banned for 5 (five) years from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) as of 16 August 2019,” CAS said in its Monday statement.
It added: “The imposed fine of CHF 50,000 (fifty thousand Swiss Francs) on Mr Siasia is set aside.
“The Panel 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 panel 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 Siasia, and considering that Siasia had not obtained any gain or pecuniary benefit from his unethical behaviour.
Siasia played 51 international matches for Nigeria, in which he scored 13 goals. He was part of the team that participated in the 1994 FIFA World Cup and won the 1994 African Nations Cup. He was also a member of the Nigerian team that won bronze at the 1992 African Nations Cup in Senegal and he played for the Super Eagles over a period of 11 years.
In 2005, Siasia coached the Under-20 team (Flying Eagles), taking them to the final of both the 2005 Under-20 World Cup and the U-20 African Youth Championship. He won the African Youth Championship and advanced all the way to the World Cup final – before losing to Argentina 2–1. He also assisted Augustine Eguavoen in coaching the national team.
Samson Siasia was appointed national U-23 coach in January 2007. In 2008, he coached the Nigerian Under-23 Olympic squad to the final against Argentina; he also led Nigeria to a bronze medal finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics among other accomplishments as a manager.
Siasia also coached the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles, between February and August 2016.
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