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$8.4m fraud: Court orders arrest of NFF President, Pinnick, 4 others

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, President, Amaju Pinnick and four other officials of the football body over alleged $8.4 million fraud.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu issued the order of arrest following the refusal of Pinnick and others to appear in court to answer to the charges of misappropriation of funds belonging to NFF.

Apart from Pinnick, other defendants whose arrests were ordered by the judge include, NFF Secretary, Sunusi Mohammed; the 1st Vice-President, Seyi Akinwumi; the 2nd Vice-President, Shehu Dikko and an Executive member, Yusuff Fresh.

Following the absence of Pinnick and others to appear in court, the prosecuting lawyer, Celcius Ukpong, orally applied for their arrest, a request the judge granted.

The Federal Government had through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, filed 17 counts, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/93/2019, before the court, in which it accused the NFF officials of alleged misappropriation of $8,400,000 belonging to the football body.

The money was said to have been paid by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association to the NFF as appearance fees in the group stage of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

The defendants were also accused of moving dishonestly and intentionally the sum of about N4bn belonging to the NFF without the consent of the NFF, Punch reports.

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Ban: I have done no wrong, Siasia appeals to FIFA, CAS

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Former Super Eagles’ Chief Coach Samson Siasia on Wednesday in Abuja said he has appealed against the life ban slammed on him by world football governing body FIFA.

Siasia told newsmen that his lawyers filed the appeal to FIFA on Aug. 27, while another appeal was filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on Aug. 29.

He denied any involvement in any illegal act, such as match-fixing, saying he was well aware they are contrary to the ethics of the football sport.

“I wish to state that I have never been and would never be a party to any form of unethical conduct or perversion in the discharge of my duties in any capacity.

“I built my career in the football industry on the foundation of hard work, integrity, consistency and God.

“In all my career, I have done nothing but serve my country and clubs to the best of my personal and professional ability, with all my strength and might, with discipline, pride and passion and an awareness that it is a privilege to be an ambassador of our great nation.

“It is my greatest hope and belief that my country also stands by and with me at a time like this,” the former Super Eagles forward said.

The former player of French side Nantes and KSC Lokeren in Belgium said the entire proceedings and decision were only brought to his notice on Aug. 16.

“That was when the news broke in the public domain and friends and family started to call. I was totally unaware of the proceedings until I heard about FIFA’s decision.

“While I may not be able to publicly divulge the details and specifics, of the appeal, I think it fit to inform you that I have appealed against FIFA’s Decision and you all will probably hear the results as you heard about the ban.

“I am currently taking legal advice. My lawyer, Austin Otah, has been liaising with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and its counsel,” he said.

Siasia who also played for Nigeria at the youth level then expressed his gratitude to all Nigerians.

“I thank everyone who has supported me in one way or the other. I must state that this is the most trying period of my life.

“I am still dealing with the pains and challenges of my mother being kidnapped again and fighting to secure her release.

“I urge the nation to support me with prayers, goodwill and support of all kind. The demands are very heavy,” he said, struggling to control a surge of emotions.

Otah also reacted on the appeal.

“We have actually assisted Siasia to file his appeal and we are awaiting FIFA to acknowledge the receipt of the appeal. We are awaiting feedback from FIFA and CAS.

“The FIFA decision requires Siasia to appeal to CAS. We are exploring an internal appeal mechanism, and this will exceptionally be with the Appeal Committee of FIFA.

“But, that notwithstanding, we are still to ensure that his appeal rights are not impeded in anyway”, Otah disclosed.

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UEFA Champions League draw holds today

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Europe is set for a major soccer showpiece on Thursday: the live draw for the Champions League starting in September and the unveiling of player of the year, in men’s and women’s football.

The four pots for the draw for the group stage were confirmed Wednesday night as the curtain was drawn on the late qualifiers such as Ajax.

The ceremony begins at 18:00 CET on Thursday 29 August. It takes place at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco and will be streamed live on UEFA.com.

Which teams are in which pots?

The Champions of Europe’s top 6 leagues, the Champions League and Europa League winners are in Pot 1. So Liverpool are here along with Chelsea and Manchester City.



The following award winners will also be announced during the draw ceremony:

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year
UEFA Women’s Player of the Year
Goalkeeper of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League season
Defender of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League season
Midfielder of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League season
Forward of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League season

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FIFA Ban: I’ve done nothing wrong – Siasia

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Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has expressed shock over his ban by FIFA and accused the world soccer ruling body of dishing out punishment without contacting him.

The former U-23 coach, in a swift reaction on social media following news of his ban, vowed to fight to clear his name.

He wondered how a person can be charged and found guilty of an allegation without being heard from.

He also dismissed claims by FIFA that a letter to that effect has been dispatched to him while re-echoing that he has not done anything wrong.

“I am shocked with FIFA ban, I was never questioned by FIFA.

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

Siasia, who led Nigeria’s Olympic team to Silver Medal finish in 2016, insisted he was hearing about the allegation and the said decision for the first time.

There are strong indications that the former Super Eagles star who scored 16 goals in 51 appearances for the national team will appeal the decision.

Some say the 52 -year- old former Lokeren of Belgium striker may drag FIFA to Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

The court has recently been inundated by cases involving fIFA and other stakeholders including Presidents of Football federations.

 

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