Ethics Committee: Why Salisu Got Lenient Punishment

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The ethics committee of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has rolled out an explanation of their decision to hand Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf what has been widely considered as a lenient punishment for his indictment in accepting a bribe.

In the wake of the announcement of a year’s ban and $5,000 fine for the home-based Eagles handler, the ethics committee rolled out a detailed statement that explained that they did not confirm that Salisu collected bribe, but he was indicated for accepting a ‘gift.’

However, considering that the code of ethics guiding world soccer, which the NFF is party to, Salisu had to be held accountable for the $1,000 payment he was seen to receive in the video that indicated him, hence the punitive measures handed out by the committee.

While inferring that Salisu’s offence was moral, not criminal, the committee chaired by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu stated in its report submitted to the NFF secretariat, days after inviting the coach to state his own side of matter:

“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.

“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.

“That the two Players could have made the team to 2018 CHAN Competition in Morocco on the basis of their talent and performance.

“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.

“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.

“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 adopted to serve as deterrent to other intending offenders, even though, that he is a first time offender.”

In its report, the committee also made reference to Art. 10 and 11 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as Art. 20, which 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.”

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