Samson Siasia has said when the Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, hears his story concerning FIFA’s ban and fine, he would be exonerated.
Siasia, a retired professional footballer, who has won medals as a national team player and youth teams’ coach, also said neither the Federal Government nor the Ministry of Sports had “asked me whether what they heard was true, or how I am going about the case. This is a country I gave my life to as a youth and won honours for.”
According to FIFA, the adjudicatory chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee found Siasia guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The world football governing body said it began an investigation into Siasia on February 11, 2019, which stemmed from an investigation into attempted match-fixing committed by Wilson Raj Perumal.
FIFA added that Siasia did not respond to emails sent to him. But Siasia had earlier told Vanguard: “I couldn’t check my mail because I wasn’t steady. As a jobless man, I was always moving. At times for months, I don’t open my mails.”
However, FIFA slammed a life ban on him and then fined him CHF 50,000 ($51,000). Siasia appealed and would get a chance to defend himself before CAS in October.
Telling Vanguard he is innocent, Siasia said: “It was one fateful day in 2009, when I was going through my email and I came across this mail from an unknown source.
“In the email, they said ‘we have a coaching position in Australia,” asking “would you want the job?’ I didn’t have to think twice before I said yes. I got interested because it was Australia, I played there.
“So we started this email back and forth, exchanging correspondences. We discussed players and how much he was going to pay and all that. It was a normal football discussion when one wants to get a job and nothing more. I never met the person one on one.”
Siasia said it was later discovered that the man he was exchanging correspondences with was a FIFA agent.
His words: “When FIFA went through his emails, they found our exchanges and concluded that if he had given me the job, we would have used it to fix matches.
“How then am I guilty? The job I did not get, no player went anywhere, so how did I fix matches? That is why I want to clear my name. I am innocent.”
But Samson Siasia said there was a financial snag to fighting the FIFA ban: “I remain confident that the truth would set me free. I am sure of victory if only I can afford the money to defend myself.”