Former Super Eagles forward and coach, Samson Siasia, has started a GoFundMe appeal to raise money to fund his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in order to overturn the life ban slammed on him by world football governing body FIFA.
Siasia, who scored Nigeria’s goal in the 1-2 defeat to Argentina at the country’s first appearance at the World Cup in 1994, according to Opera news, had the appeal created for him three days ago and is aimed to raise $250,000.
“Samson Siasia was alleged “to agree to collect bribe” in relation to a football match. He was subsequently banned for life from all footballing activities, without the benefit of defending himself.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has now accepted an appeal from Samson on FIFA’s ruling.
“Legal cost of defending himself is needed for him to clear his name,” observed the statement attached to the GoFundMe appeal.
Siasia, a member of Nigeria’s famed ‘Class of ’94 Eagles,’ was handed the ban by FIFA last August for allegedly agreeing to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.”
A statement from the FIFA Ethics Committee at the time stated: “The Ethics Committee has found Mr Siasia, a former official of the Nigeria Football Federation, guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
Siasia was banned “for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.” In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 50,000 (US$50,000) was imposed on Mr Siasia.
However, further probe revealed later that Siasia was banned after failing to respond to, (or appear) email requests from FIFA to appear before the Ethics Committee to present his defence.
With the decision, Siasia’s next recourse was to head for CAS, but to file an appeal required the former international to pay $100,000 excluding his legal costs.
Close associates of the former Nigeria coach revealed that Siasia has been in depression for the last few months.
Apart from the case with FIFA/CAS, his mother was kidnapped and was with the criminal gang for months before allowed to go after a ransom was paid. It was the second time the 76-year old lady was taken into custody by the kidnappers.
Siasia coached Nigeria’s Super Eagles between 2010-2011 and returned for another spell in 2016 and also served as coach of the country’s Under-20 and Under-23 sides at different times.
But the FIFA indictment did not state if it was during either of these periods that the alleged infractions was committed.
Siasia has continued to protest his innocence, saying he had no recollection of ever agreeing to manipulate any football match and has also said in previous interviews that members of the Super Eagles team he played with have not offered him the kind of support he needed.
“But I will fight to the last to clear my name because I know that I did nothing wrong.
“I only heard about all of this for the first time just like everybody else on social media and then I got a call from (NFF President) Amaju Pinnick asking me if I had seen any letter from FIFA.
“I said no and he asked me to check. That was when I checked my email. But I know that I am innocent and I am asking everybody to help me raise this money to clear my name.”