While most soccer loving Nigerian are still yet to come to terms with the life ban placed on former international, Samson Siasia for bribery-related offence by FIFA, another former Super Eagles player, Dickson Etuhu was handed five-year ban for match-fixing in Sweden.
Former Manchester City, Preston, Sunderland and Fulham midfielder, Dickson Etuhu, has been banned from football in Sweden for five years after being found guilty of match fixing.
In November the Nigeria international was found guilty of attempting to fix a match between IFK Gothenburg and AIK in 2017. Etuhu was fined and ordered to serve a period of probation but avoided a prison sentence, with his lawyers still planning to take his case to Sweden’s Supreme Court.
The court said that “the content of what the men submitted to the player (Stamatopoulos) was so clear that it should be considered a criminal offer of bribe.”
Etuhu had initially been acquitted by a court last year but that was appealed by prosecutor Johan Lindmark, who told local Swedish newspaper Expressen that he was satisfied with the outcome.
“It was with satisfaction that I received the verdict today,” Lindmark said.
“I had appealed on the grounds that I thought the court of law would change and was not surprised when I saw the verdict.”
However, the Swedish Football Association has now taken action to ban the 37-year-old Etuhu and the former IFK Rössjöholm player Alban Jusufi for “deliberately trying to persuade an Allsvenskan player to underperform in one of their team’s matches,”
The decision also details the findings of the court, which was told that Etuhu and Jusufi met the AIK goalkeeper Kyriakos Stamatopoulos on 16 May 2017 at a Stockholm restaurant, where the bribery attempt took place. Stamatopoulos was offered around £160,000 (SEK2m) to underperform during a match against IFK Gothenburg but the former Canada keeper reported their approach and as a result the match was postponed the next day.
Etuhu moved to IFK Rössjöholm from AIK in August 2017, shortly after the bribery attempt.
The former Nigerian international was found guilty in court in November 2019 having first arrived in Sweden in 2014, signing for Stockholm-based club AIK fresh from a fairly uninspiring spell at Blackburn Rovers.
The offence involved a match between AIK and IFK Göteborg in the Allsvenskan. It wasn’t the greatest attempt in history as the match was called off shortly before kick off when the authorities were made aware of the attempt by the player who was approached.
The ex-Premier League midfielder was found guilty of offering money to teammate Kyriakos Stamatopoulos, who was AIK’s back-up goalkeeper at the time, to allow Göteborg to win.
In a statement the Swedish FA said: “The Disciplinary Board has decided to suspend two people because they have deliberately tried to persuade a football player to underperform in one of the team’s matches.
“Through their actions, these people have violated the anti-match fixing regulations, and they are therefore suspended for five years.
“The ban includes training, competing or performing any assignments in any sports.”
What it means is that Etuhu, who played for his country at the 2010 World Cup, is banned from playing for or coaching any Swedish club until April 2025.
Etuhu enjoyed a 14-year stint in England. Starting at Manchester City, he was one of David Moyes’ final signings as Preston boss, where he impressed in the Championship for almost four seasons and earned a move to Norwich City.
He was signed by Sunderland in 2007 upon the Black Cats’ return to the Premier League under Roy Keane. His best spell, however, came at Fulham as he was in the heart of Roy Hodgson’s midfield that famously went all the way to the Europa League final in 2009/10.
And of course he scored this cracker.
Injuries eventually led to Etuhu being released by AIK and dropping down five divisions to play for IFK Rössjöholm, before he hung up his boots in 2017.
While Etuhu may have officially hung up his boots years ago, the announcement will certainly tarnish any hope he had of a future in the sport.