Sports Minister Sunday Dare has hit back at Samson Siasia’s claims that he received no help from the Federal Government during his fight to overturn his life ban from all football-related activities by FIFA.
Dare launched a scathing attack on Siasia, describing the former Super Eagles coach as a liar and insisted the Federal Government provided funds in support of Siasia’s legal battle.
In 2019, FIFA determined Siasia was “guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches” and subsequently banned him for life.
He was also fined CHF 50,000 (fifty thousand Swiss Francs).
However, the sanction was reduced to a five-year ban on 21 June following an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) with the court backdating the ban to August of 2019.
In handing Siasia a reprieve, CAS ruled FIFA’s punishment to be “disproportionate for a first offence which was committed passively and which had not had an adverse or immediate effect on football stakeholders.”
The decision means Siasia will be free to return to football in 2024.
In a media conference following the CAS ruling, Siasia claimed to have been cast aside by his former teammates in the national team and the Federal Government in his most trying times.
Specifically, Siasia said his appeal to Dare for assistance was brushed aside with claims of “we don’t have money” and suggested the minister was “scared to approach” President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue.
“I want to say something about the Nigerian government,” Siasia said. “This my issue is a government problem. But up till today, we know Buhari is the President, the minister of sports when he came in, I met him. When they banned me, a week or two weeks before he came in. I met him, he said, ‘Coach I know about your problems.’ All he said was, ‘we don’t have money.’ That was it.”
Sports Minister Dare has, however, rejected Siasia claims, sensationally revealing that Siasia received “cash” from the ministry.
Dare also vowed to expose “the facts of the cash” Siasia collected.
“Siasia is not telling the truth and the ministry and the government will come out with the facts of the cash he collected, of the efforts we made,” Dare shot back.
“He’s not telling the truth.”