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MATCH-FIXING: Siasia vows to overturn “unjust” FIFA ban

Sampson Siasia

Former Super Eagles Coach, Samson Siasia has reiterated his innocence and has vowed to appeal FIFA’s decision to ban him from all football related activities after the world football governing body found him guilty of match fixing.

The 52-year-old was banned by FIFA from all football-related activities for life in 2019 for allegedly agreeing to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.”

Siasia then filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration For Sports (CAS) a month later to prove his innocence and overturn FIFA decision which he said was “unjust and unfair”.

“I don’t want to believe that I will be treated this way just because I am black and have nobody to speak for me. Otherwise, I don’t know how some people can ban me for life from football without making efforts to hear from me,” Siasia told The Guardian.

“I believe God is on my side because I am being falsely punished. I am a winner. Whether as a player or a coach, I always strive to win because I hate losing.

“Now for anybody to accuse me of trying to fix a match, make my team lose, is preposterous,” Hh added.

CAS was supposed to hear the case on March 19, 2020, but it was postponed to the ravaging Coronavirus crisis that hit the globe.

Siasia, however, refused a virtual court hearing which is currently in use by individuals or organisations who have issues with FIFA or CAS. He prefers to be physical present in the court to prove he was unfairly punished by the world football governing body.

The former Dream Team XII also revealed that CAS has indicated intentions to begin the hearing this year and will soon fix a date.

“CAS has expressed its desire to end the case this year. We expect that any time from now, they will fix the new date for the hearing.”

As part of the requirements for revisiting the case, Siasia is expected to pay the 250, 000 euros required to convene the court in Zurich, Switzerland and he says he has garnered the money and is just waiting for a date.

“I have to come up with more than N83 million because apart from the money I must pay to CAS, I am also to pay my lawyers and arrange for logistics for our movement to Zurich.

“Look at me, an African Nations Cup winner, a former national team coach and an Olympian finding it difficult to raise money to prove my case.”

Siasia also calls on Nigerians to support him as he embarks on the journey to prove his innocence.

“Football is the only trade I know. Stopping me from the game is like cutting off my head. I really need people to hear my side of the story, that is why I am crying to Nigerians to say look, let me defend myself.

“I have come a long way not to talk of messing things up at this level. This is the only thing I know how to do. I started from a very early age and I have never done anything else. How do I get income without doing my job?”

FIFA, however, did not provide details of the matches involved in its investigations into Siasia’s case.

He managed the Super Eagles between 2010 and 2011 and had a spell in 2016, as well as coaching the country at under-20 and under-23 levels.

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Copyright 2020 The Athletic NG. Permission to use this article or any part of it is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.theathletic.com.ng as the source.

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