Siasia rejects five-year ban, will challenge CAS’ verdict on alleged match-fixing, says Akanni
Super Eagles Former Coach, Samson Siasia, does not accept the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) verdict on the match-fixing charge brought against him by world football governing body, FIFA, an associate of the Olympic silver medallist, Waidi Akanni, has said.
In 2019, FIFA banned Siasia from all football related activities for life over an alleged plot to fix matches. In addition, the world body also imposed a CHF 50,000 fine on the former Super Eagles striker.
FIFA based the sanction against Siasia on his liaison with Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer from Singapore. FIFA said it tried to contact Siasia via email, adding, however, that the coach never replied any of its messages.
FIFA had said in 2019 that Siasia was ‘guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics’ and also fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000).’
Shocked by FIFA’s judgment, Siasia ran to CAS to seek justice. CAS earlier scheduled hearing on the case on March 19, 2020, but later postponed it severally owing to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus and the travel restrictions that came with the virus.
The world adjudicatory body recently held the session virtually, giving Siasia the chance to answer to the charges.
In its verdict yesterday, CAS said the imposition of a life ban was ‘disproportionate for a first offence which was committed passively and which had not had 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.”
But, according to Akanni, Siasia is shocked that CAS could still punish him for ‘an offence he did not commit.’
Akanni queried the wisdom in the judgment, saying a guilty verdict cannot be based on ‘passive crime.’
He said: “I am not a lawyer, but CAS showed from its statements that it has no evidence to prove that Siasia accepted to fix games.
“What is the meaning of passive crime? Who are the players he recruited to want to rig games. The guy wanted to give him a job and nothing else. 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 didn’t know of the judgment until he called to inform him, adding, “unfortunately, Samson doesn’t read his emails.
“I am shocked that after paying all the money, this is the judgment he gets. They had a 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.”
Akanni called on Nigerians to rally round Siasia.
“Why should they reduce a life ban to five years if they had any evidence he committed any crime.”
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