As the clock ticks down to the March 19 date for his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), embattled former Nigerian international footballer and coach has reportedly insisted that his life ban and fine by FIFA was a miscarriage of justice.

The player who belonged to the often-celebrated golden generation of Nigerian footballers was last August handed a life ban and a fine of CHF 50, 000 ($52 thousand or N18 million) by FIFA.

According to FIFA, Siasia was found guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches, which is in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

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

Wilson Raj Perumal is a convicted Singaporean match-fixer. He is accused on several match-fixing scandals. Although FIFA was not specific about a particular match, the Singaporean had published his match fixing memoirs in a book titled “Kelong Kings”, written with investigative journalists Alessandro Righi and Emanuele Piano; the book was released on April 28, 2014.

I discussed job offer, not bribe, with Wilson Raj Perumal (centre) , says Siasia (left)

In the book, Perumal claims to have ferried Nigeria and Honduras to the final rounds of the 2010 South Africa FIFA World Cup by fixing their qualification matches. Siasia was not the Nigerian coach at the time.

In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Siasia had breached art. 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.

According to Nigerian publication, SportingLife, Siasia reiterated that he did not collect any bribe to fix any match and that he only negotiated terms after being headhunted for a coaching job. The contact man for the job approached him.

It was further reported that Siasia said he never knew that the said contact was involved in match fixing and had also been convicted.

Sports Village Square suspects that the said contact man is the Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal. Siasia is reported to have claimed that he had not seen or heard from the man since the cancelled negotiations back in April 2010 until he read about his life ban by FIFA in the media last August.

Siasia claimed that the coaching job he was looking for was in 2010. He averred that FIFA, in claiming that proceedings against him stemmed from an extensive investigation into matches traced to Perumal, must have relied solely on “some emails about 10 years ago when I was approached for a possible coaching job and not for match fixing or bribery as FIFA claimed they banned me for life for.

“It is clear that I was falsely accused of match fixing. Despite not fixing any match and despite not receiving any money FIFA insisted on banning me for life just for being approached to take up a coaching job”, Siasia disclosed to SportingLife.

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