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FIFA’s Hammer Falls on Siasia over Match-fixing Allegation

In organized sports, match-fixing occurs as a match is played to a completely or partially pre-determined result, violating the rules of the game and often the law. …These contacts and transfers can sometimes be found, and lead to prosecution by the law

-By Saidu Abubakar with additional Agency reports

Football’s governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association has banned former Super Eagles of Nigeria coach, Samson Siasia, for bribery and match-fixing allegation.

According to FIFA, Siasia was found guilty of receiving a bribe to manipulate the outcomes of matches.

In a statement, FIFA said Siasia would also pay a fine of CHF50,000, equivalent to about $51,051.00, while he remained banned from all football activities both at national and international levels.

The statement reads, “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr. Samson 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.

“The formal ethics proceedings against Mr. Siasia were initiated on February 11, 2019, and stem from an extensive investigation into matches that Mr. Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes.

“This large-scale investigation was conducted by FIFA via its competent departments and in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and authorities.

“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr. Siasia had breached Article 11 (Bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and banned him 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 CHF50,000 has been imposed on Mr. Siasia. The decision was notified to Mr. Siasia on the date which the ban came into force.”

Apart from his success as a player, Siasia is famed for leading Nigeria’s Under-23 men’s team to a silver finish at the football event of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Foitball Federation, NFF described the life ban as a “massive sanction”, adding that it is shocked by the decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

The NFF says it is reviewing the life ban imposed on Samson Siasia by the world football governing body, FIFA, while waiting to take action after seeking legal advice.

FIFA had announced the ban of Siasia, former Super Eagles coach, from any footballing activities both national and international after being found guilty of bribery and match-fixing.

Acting President of NFF, Seyi Akinwunmi Esq., in a statement, said, “The NFF was shocked to learn of the investigation and the subsequent decision by the FIFA Ethics Committee (Adjudicatory Chamber) placing a life ban on Mr. Samson Siasia. But we have, however, now received documents, including one known as the ‘motivated decision’, and we have handed them to our lawyers to study and provide legal advice to the Federation.

Also reacting to the ban through a press conference at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, the former Nigeria U23 coach expressed shock at the decision by FIFA stating he was not invited to defend himself, adding that he will fight to clear his name from the bribery scandal.

“I don’t know anything about this. I did nothing wrong and I have not received any letter from FIFA,” he said.

Siasia was found guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee.

Article 11 of the Code of Ethics says: “Officials may not accept bribes; in other words, any gifts or other advantages that are offered, promised or sent to them to incite breach of duty or dishonest conduct for the benefit of a third party shall be refused. Officials are forbidden from bribing third parties or from urging or inciting others to do so in order to gain an advantage for themselves or third parties.”

Samson Siasia has been banned for life by FIFA for agreeing to ‘the manipulation of matches’ for betting purposes.

In a statement from FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee, “Siasia was found guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches that Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes.”

The former Nigeria forward becomes the third African to be banned by FIFA for his links to Perumal after former Sierra Leone FA official Abu Kabba and former Botswana FA official Mooketsi Kgotlele were suspended in July for five years and for life respectively.

Who is Wilson Raj Perumal?
Wilson Raj Perumal is a convicted Singaporean match-fixer. He is accused on several match-fixing scandals, including Asiagate in 2007 – 2009 and the 2008 – 2011 Finnish match-fixing scandal. He was first jailed for match-fixing in 1995 in Singapore.

Wilson Raj Perumal

Born: 31 July 1965 (age 54 years)
Conviction(s): match-fixing, assault
Criminal status: Released from Finnish prison in February 2012, extradited to Hungary as a prosecution witness.

Criminal penalty: 4 years in Singapore, 2 years in Finland, 5 years in Singapore (this last sentence was not served).

…Perumal opens up: ‘I fixed Nigeria vs Kenya 2010 World Cup qualifier’
Raj Perumal claimed he fixed the Super Eagles’ 2010 World Cup qualifier against Kenya to help the Eagles qualify for the Mundial in South Africa.

Perumal, who headed an underground match-fixing syndicate based in Singapore, opened up on his dirty deals and connivance with players, football federation officials from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Togo and Nigeria to manipulate and fix matches.

Perumal, who was jailed for two years for fixing and manipulating matches at international level, revealed in an interview with Al-Jazeera’s undercover series, People and Power, how he tapped up some African national team players and their federations in fixing international friendlies and matches during South Africa 2010 world cup qualifiers through his company Football For You international.

“Evading securities, it became more sophisticated and we decided to reach out to federations and players in South East Asia and Africa. It was easy to convince players and officials from these impoverished areas.

“Zimbabwe was the first national team to fall under my spell. I promised to take care of the entire Warriors’ feeding, accommodation and traveling expenses while also guaranteeing them $50,000 per match in 2008, provided they play ball,” he said.

However, four years later, the Zimbabwean media exposed the scandal branding it Asia Gate. And, about 80 Zimbabwean players and officials were axed by the country’s football governing body ZIMFA in 2012.

The Singaporean in a lengthy detail, explained how him and partner, Manimaran Kalimuthu, met some officials of the Nigeria Football Federation at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, early 2009 to strike a deal ahead of the Super Eagles make-or-break 2010 final qualifier against Kenya.

“I got to meet officials of the Nigerian football federation through a Nigerian football agent, Odira Sylvester Ezeh. I had invited the national team before to Malaysia for the Intercontinental Cup.”

Perumal, alongside his trusted associate, flew to Nigeria in 2009 to meet with NFF officials.

“I told them I’ll make sure I do everything to make Nigeria qualify for the World Cup in 2010, as I’ve got two to three players in the Kenyan team that are ready while my company will give Mozambique $100,000 for getting a positive result against Tunisia in Maputo,” PUNCH reported.