The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal filed by the Nigerian football coach Samson Siasia against the decision rendered by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on 11 April 2019 (the Challenged Decision). In such decision, Samson Siasia was found guilty of infringement of article 1 (bribery) of the 2009 FIFA Code of Ethics and sanctioned with a life ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) and a fine of CHF 50,000 was imposed on him.
In 2010, a match fixer tried to involve Mr Siasia as a coach of a club under his strict instructions. With
the promise of employment benefits, Mr Siasia would have had to always field several players under
the control of the match fixer. The negotiations between the match fixer and Mr Siasia in relation to
the conditions of employment were conducted by email over a period of two months. Eventually, the
club did not accept or could not afford Mr Siasia’s requests and the negotiations ended.
The CAS Panel confirmed the Challenged Decision, with the exception of the following elements:
• Mr Siasia is banned for 5 (five) years from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level (administrative, sports or any other) as of 16 August 2019.
• The imposed fine of CHF 50,000 (fifty thousand Swiss Francs) on Mr Siasia is set aside.
The Panel determined the imposition of a life ban to be disproportionate for a first offence which was
committed passively and which had not had an adverse or immediate effect on football stakeholders,
and that a five-year ban would still achieve the envisaged aim of punishing the infringement committed
by Mr Siasia.
The Panel acknowledged the need for sanctions to be sufficiently high enough to
eradicate bribery and especially match-fixing in football. However, the Panel considered in the
particular circumstances of this matter that it would be inappropriate and excessive to impose a
financial sanction in addition to the five-year ban, since the ban sanction already incorporated a
financial punishment in eliminating football as a source of revenue for Mr Siasia, and considering that
Mr Siasia had not obtained any gain or pecuniary benefit from his unethical behavior.