Coach of the senior national team of Nigeria, Salisu Yusuf, has been banned from any football-related activity in Nigeria for one year after he was caught on tape accepting cash to pick players in his WAFU team squad.
The video was recorded in Ghana during the WAFU Championship by Ghanaian reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Nigeria finished as runners-up to eventual winners Ghana, after losing 4-1 in the final.
Yusuf faced the Ethics Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) after he returned from London, where he was undergoing surgery when the documentary was aired on the BBC network last month.
The NFF, in the statement by its spokesperson, Demola Olajire, said it had accepted the report and approved the committee’s recommendation.
The coach has also been told to pay a fine of $5,000 to the Federation within three months.
In its report submitted to the NFF Secretariat on Tuesday, days after inviting the coach to state his own side of the matter, the committee, chaired by Nuhu Ribadu, said it:
1) Established from the admission of Coach Salisu Yusuf and also found as a fact from the documentary and video evidence before it, that he accepted the cash gift of $1,000 offered by Tigers Player’s Agency, an undercover reporter, purportedly interested in acting on behalf of Players Osas Okoro and Rabiu Ali, for their inclusion in the list of players for 2018 CHAN Competition in Morocco.
2) The Committee found as a fact that it was not an error of judgment on the part of Coach Salisu Yusuf but a conscious and deliberate decision to have accepted the cash gift of $1,000 from the decoy player agent/undercover reporter, purportedly interested in acting on behalf of Players Osas Okoro and Rabiu Ali, even though the evidence before the Committee did not establish that his conduct influenced the choice of the two players.
3) That the two Players could have made the team to 2018 CHAN Competition in Morocco on the basis of their talent and performance.
4) That Coach Salisu Yusuf did not accept the offer of 15% of the anticipated transfer fees of the said players, as there was no follow –up action on the promise.
5) That the act of the Coach, which was widely published on the British Broadcasting Corporation, has a damaging effect on the reputation and integrity of Nigerian Football, as he ought to have conducted himself more professionally in line with the Code of Conduct signed alongside his Contract with the Nigeria Football Federation, as his conduct in public and in secret should be exemplary, since coaches are role models.
6) That the FIFA Code of Ethics, NFF Code of Ethics and FIFA Disciplinary Code, did not contemplate negligence or error of judgment as a defence to violation of any of the provisions as contained therein, as punitive measures must be adapted to serve as deterrent to other intending offenders, even though, that he is a first time offender.
On the committee’s decision, it stated that “In accordance with Art. 22, FIFA Disciplinary Code, he is hereby banned for the period of one year, from partaking or involvement or participation in any football-related activity, effective from the date of this decision. He is also fined in the sum of $5,000 to be paid within three (3) months of the date of this decision…”
The committee also ruled that an appeal against the decision can be made to the NFF Appeals Committee.
With Mainasara Illo (Member), Justin Okoroji (Member) and Joshua Onoja (Secretary) also present, the committee said it passed its verdict of guilt on the defendant based on “Art. 20, as well as Art. 21 (1) and 21 (3) of the NFF Code of Ethics. It also made reference to Art. 10 and 11 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
Article 20 states that, “Persons bound by this Code may only offer or accept gifts or other benefits to and from persons within or outside NFF, or in conjunction with intermediaries or related parties as defined in this Code, which i) have symbolic or trivial value ii) exclude any influence for the execution or omission of an act that is related to their official activities or falls within their discretion iii) are not contrary to their duties iv) did not create any undue pecuniary or other advantage and v) did not create a conflict of interest.”
Article 21 (1) states that: “Persons bound by this Code must not offer, promise, give or accept any personal or undue pecuniary advantage or other advantages in order to obtain or retain business or any other improper advantage to or from anyone within or outside NFF. Such acts are prohibited; regardless of whether carried out directly or indirectly through, or in conjunction with, intermediaries or related parties as defined in this Code.
In particular, persons bound by this Code must not offer, promise, give or accept any undue pecuniary or other advance for the execution or omission of an act that is related to their official activities and is contrary to their duties or falls within their discretion. Any such offer must be reported to the Ethics Committee and any failure to do so shall be sanctionable in accordance with this Code.”
Article 21 (3) states that “Persons bound by this Code must refrain from any activity or behaviour that might give rise to the appearance or suspicion of improper conduct as described in the foregoing sections, or any attempt thereof.”
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