Siasia Sues FIFA In US Court, Wants Ban Overturned

Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia says FIFA ran afoul of his constitutional rights after he was convicted of bribery.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in New York federal court, the former Nigerian international claims only the US Government can charge him.

The 53-year-old was initially sanctioned in 2019 by FIFA for agreeing to “receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.”

But after he appealed against the life ban, it was reduced to five years by the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

However, Siasia wants his conviction overturned, the $50,000 fine he paid returned, his five-year coaching ban reversed and damages awarded for the alleged civil rights violations, according to the Atlanta resident’s court papers.

“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,” his suit says, adding that “Georgia does not criminalize commercial bribery.”

Siasia said FIFA violated his rights to due process under the Fifth and 14th Amendments when it convicted him for his minor role in a wide-ranging conspiracy to fix hundreds of matches by paying off corrupt players and officials.

His suit also stated that FIFA’s imposing the fine and revoking his license constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” barred by the Eighth Amendment.

The coach was licensed through the United States Soccer Federation, a FIFA affiliate, in 2009.

A year later, convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal offered Siasia a coaching job in Australia where he would “play along” and “close one eye” to Perumal’s dealings, the suit says.

In emails sent from Atlanta, Siasia expressed interest, and the two went back and forth on terms but ultimately went their separate ways, according to court papers.

FIFA learned about the messages during a Finnish probe into Perumal and charged Siasia in 2019, yet it failed to properly notify him, his suit says.

“Siasia was not aware of the bribery charge for which that FIFA indicted him until FIFA published to the whole world in or around August 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 says.