Samson Siasia eager to return to football after FIFA ban ends

Samson Siasia eager to return to football after FIFA ban ends

Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has revealed that he is eager to return to football after learning his lessons during his period of ban.

It will be recalled that the World Football governing body, FIFA, banned Siasia from all football activities for life in August 2019 and fined him $50,000 for admitting to match manipulation’ for betting purposes.

FIFA banned Siasia from football following an intensive investigation into attempted match-fixing by Wilson Perumal and the Nigerian coach.

Following Siasia’s appeal, the ban was reduced to five years by the Court of Arbitration for Sports in 2021, with the ban set to lapse in August 2024.

“I thought I was going to be free by this year (2023), and I was so excited. But I had to look through the document that FIFA served me, and I found out that it was going to be next year. By next year, in August 2024, I will be free from the FIFA ban, and hopefully I will be back to football,” Siasia said in a radio interview on Kennis 104.1FM.

The former U-23 gaffer continued, “Irrespective of what happened, I have learned my lessons, but FIFA, who initially gave me a life ban in football, could not prove anything wrong with what they claimed I did. But they had to reduce it to a five-year ban, and it will expire next year. I thank God for that.

“It has been terrible to be away from football for five years, but I am preparing myself to come back to football, so I have to prepare myself so I can start ‘running’ once I resume by next year,” he concluded.

 Siasia’s travails started when he was approached by a match-fixer, Wilson Perumal, in 2010, while seeking a job with an Australian club.

In one of the handful of emails exchanged between Perumal and Siasia saw the former looking eager to get the job he was being offered despite some of the illegal clauses being pushed by the match-fixer.

“You have a reputation as a silver medalist coach at the Beijing Olympics. I wish to be transparent with you in this matter. I am going to take over a club. I want to engage you as the head coach. It is an Australian ‘A’ league team.

“You know my nature of business. I will personally bring in 5 Players and dictate the show. You will do your coaching job and play along. I will not drag you into what I am doing. My players will take instructions from me. You will have just close one eye and do your coaching job. There is no relegation in this league. No one can fire you. What amount will u be asking for as salary,” Perumal said in one of his emails to Siasia.Though seeking to know the extra details of the monetary terms he was being offered, Siasia was also cautious in his approach.

“Am I going to pay taxes on this amount if agreed, and what about signing on fees, accommodation, and car,” Siasia asked.

“Also need to know about flight tickets for me and family. I will be waiting for your soonest response because I have other offers am looking at,” Siasia added in one correspondence.

The evidence established against Siasia by FIFA led to his ban, which effectively prevented him from using his U.S. Soccer Federation coaching license and also barred him from any other involvement in football globally.

Siasia, an Atlanta resident, sued FIFA in August 2021, saying the evidence was “grossly insufficient” and that the ban violated his due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

But the appeals court said Siasia did not show that FIFA was “essentially at home” in New York, or agreed to be sued there because it banned his use of what Siasia called his “New York” coaching license.

The unsigned decision upheld a Manhattan trial judge’s October 2021 dismissal of Siasia’s lawsuit even as FIFA maintained the claims by the former Nigeria international were meritless.

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