Siasia sues FIFA over ban, demands refund of $54k fine
Samson Siasia, former Super Eagles player and coach, has sued FIFA over the federation’s earlier decision to hand him a life ban from all football-related activities.
In 2019, FIFA had found Siasia “guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches”.
The world football governing body had said the offence violated its code of ethics while the ban was also accompanied by a 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000) fine.
On June 21, the sanction was however reduced to a five-year ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
The court had also ruled that the life ban handed to the Nigerian was “disproportionate” to the offence he was said to have committed.
But in a dramatic twist, Siasia filed a suit at a federal court in New York on Monday, challenging his initial conviction by FIFA.
In the suit filed through Nitor V. Egbarin, his counsel, the coach, who is also a US citizen, claimed his conviction by FIFA was a breach of his constitutional rights.
The football gaffer also contended that the federation lacked the powers to sanction him, adding that only the United States has the legal backing to charge him for the bribery offence.
Buttressing his point in the suit, Siasia argued that FIFA had relied on the Swiss bribery law to effect his conviction, adding that “Georgia does not criminalize commercial bribery.”
“In convicting Siasia of bribery, FIFA relied on Swiss bribery law. If any crime was committed, only the FBI or Georgia State Police could investigate and bring charges of commercial bribery,” the suit partly read.
Siasia also claimed that FIFA did not follow due process in its investigation into the allegations against him before his eventual conviction for bribery.
“Siasia was not aware of the bribery charge for which that FIFA indicted him until FIFA published to the whole world in or around Aug. 16, 2019, FIFA’s conviction and imposition of a life ban on Siasia from using the coach license issued under the laws of the United States,” the suit added.
He said that FIFA’s fine and the decision to revoke his license constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” which, he claimed, “violated provisions of the eighth amendment of the US law.”
In the suit, Siasia demanded among others, the overturning of his earlier conviction, a refund of the 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000) fine handed to him, and a reversal of his five-year coaching ban.
The former Nigerian international also demanded that FIFA pays him damages for allegedly violating his civil rights and bringing his reputation into disrepute.
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