On Siasia – By Frank Ofili20 views
Coach Sampson Siasia. Remember him? The Holland 2005 and Beijing 2008 Olympics hero.
In 2019 Siasia was banned for life by FIFA from participating in anything football. FIFA said, at that time, that he was found guilty of accepting an offer to receive bribes in an attempt to fix matches.
FIFA did not say Siasia actually did receive bribes and actually did fix matches. Neither did the world football governing body say which and which matches he fixed. Nevertheless, the body went ahead to fine Siasia fifty thousand Swiss Francs and a life ban from participation in football matters.
Siasia denied the charge and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS. Short of money but feeling that his integrity had been damaged beyond repair by FIFA, Siasia sourced money to prosecute the case at CAS. Now CAS has reduced the ban to five years and the fine rescinded.
And this where I have questions. Reducing the ban and rescinding the fine suggest that CAS has cleared Siasia; or at least is of the view that he is no longer as culpable as FIFA made the world to believe.
Whichever it is I expected CAS to be clear. Has Siasia been cleared of all charges? If so, why still the 5-year ban? What is the remedy for his name that has been dragged in the mud?
If on the other hand, Siasia is still culpable to some degree, which and which offense was he culpable of to warrant the five-year ban?
This morning I listened to a popular radio station in Lagos turn themselves into lawyers arguing for and against Siasia when, as journalists, they should be reaching out to CAS to seek clarification and inform Nigerians.
If these journalists would not reach out to CAS, I expect NFF to take up the case from this point. Yes, NFF owe Nigerians a duty to get clarification from CAS – not just for Siasia but also so that our coaches would learn a lesson and be guided in future.