US Court Throws Out Siasia’s Suit Against FIFA

FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, on Friday won the dismissal of a lawsuit by former Nigeria national team coach Samson Siasia challenging his lifetime ban, later reduced to five years, for fixing matches.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said he had “no conceivable basis” to exercise jurisdiction in Manhattan federal court because the dispute took place outside the United States and was decided under Swiss law and Siasia lived in Atlanta.

Nitor Egbarin, a lawyer for Siasia, had no immediate comment, having yet to review the decision.

FIFA had in 2019 found Siasia violated its code of ethics by engaging in a bribery scheme related to a plan to fix Australian matches.

Siasia sued FIFA in August, saying the case against him was based on “grossly insufficient evidence” consisting exclusively of emails that were “never explained” to FIFA, and that he was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses.

He said FIFA’s probe was an improper exercise of “government function,” violating his rights under the U.S. Constitution, federal civil rights law and state law.

FIFA said Siasia’s lawsuit did not belong in any U.S. court, and that his claims were meritless.

In June, the Court of Arbitration for Sport shortened Siasia’s ban and lifted his 50,000 Swiss franc ($54,585) fine, calling the lifetime ban too severe for a first offense.

Siasia, 54, was a striker for Nigeria’s national team before turning to coaching.

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