By Osasu Obayiuwana
December 17 – Samson Siasia, the former Nigeria striker and manager of the Super Eagles, has accused the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) of failing to help him fight against the life ban imposed on him in August by FIFA, world football’s governing body, for match-fixing.
FIFA imposed the life ban on “all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level” and also fined the 1994 World Cup star $50,000.
The sanction stems from an ongoing ‘large-scale investigation’ FIFA is conducting into the behaviour of Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer from Singapore.
In a statement sent to this reporter on Monday by the former Nantes and Lokeren player, Siasia says he has felt “abandoned and alone” since FIFA imposed what is a career-destroying ban, as it stops him from earning a living from football.
“My family and I are pained that The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other agencies of [the Nigerian] government are yet (in spite of promises) to lift a finger in my support,” Siasia said.
“No overtures have been made to my lawyer and I with support… all I have heard from Mr Pinnick (the NFF President), through my wife, is that they will be supportive… It’s a mantra I have been hearing since August when this matter happened…”
“Nothing has been done. I have made overtures to Nigerians, Federal Government officials, The National Assembly, Federal Ministries, well-meaning and sports-loving individuals, and Nigeria as a whole. Yet, I have not received any substantial support, except from one or two close and well-meaning associates that have stood by my family and I till date,” a bitter Siasia said.
“Nigeria, where are you in my time of need? I strongly believe that it is because FIFA knows that we Nigerians don’t look after our own… it will think that it can get away with its error (of banning him), because there is no strong pressure that will come from Nigeria,” Siasia went on.
Siasia, who managed Nigeria to silver and bronze medals at the 2008 and 2016 Olympics in Beijing and Rio, also accused FIFA of making it impossible to appeal against his ban.
“My lawyers have informed me that CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport) made a decision which favours FIFA and prejudices me, to strike out my claim for compensation and have thus refused to reinstate it.”
“I am saying I was wrongly banned for life, and because FIFA informed the whole world of my alleged commission of the offences of match-fixing and bribery, I feel I am entitled to claim for compensation for this terrible… aspersion that they cast against my character.”
“FIFA knows of the strength of my appeal and the evidence given thus far, to prove that I could not have committed the alleged offences of match fixing and bribery… [but] FIFA continues to spread false allegations that I was involved with the match-fixer without any shred of evidence, and has continued to do so because it knows there is no compensation claim.”
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