Category Archives: Arbitration

NFF President Pinnick, 4 Others Discharged, Acquitted on Alleged $8.4million, N4billion Corruption Charges

Chieftains of the Nigeria Football Federation, including its President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, have been discharged and acquitted on all counts of alleged corruption charges in a case brought by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel, SPIP.

The panel, headed by Okon Obono-Obla who is now on the run to avoid prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC had filed a 16–count charge against Pinnick, Seyi Akinwunmi (1st Vice President), Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President), Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary) and Ahmed Yusuf (Executive Committee member) with wild claims of alleged corruption against the men, and even subjected them to extensive media trial at home and abroad. Among the charges were misappropriation of the sums of $8.4million and N4billion, conflict of interest and non-declaration of assets.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick

At a point, now–fleeing Obono-Obla wrote to the Confederation of African Football, CAF twisting all the facts with regards to Nigeria’s participation in the CAF Congress of 2015.

On Tuesday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed the entire case with all 16 charges, and acquitted the NFF chieftains in consideration of the submission of the defence and the prosecution and in line with the rules of administration of criminal justice.

The clean bill is a confirmation of the position of the NFF on all swirling allegations of corruption against its officials. Nigeria’s supreme football –governing body has always insisted that its leaders were being victimised by persons who lost elections through the ballot and were seeking other means to upturn things at Glass House, or disgruntled individuals simply on a mission of vendetta.

Only last month, a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to remove the names of Pinnick and Sanusi from the witnesses’ category and add them to the list of accused persons in a case at the FCT High Court over the same $8.4million FIFA Grant was put on hold after the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation submitted that it was taking over the case with a view to ascertaining its validity, seeing that same persons were being charged spuriously in different courts and/or investigated by several agencies over the same allegations hewed out of petitions by the same individuals.

Seyi Akinwunmi 1st Vice-President NFF

At the court on Tuesday, a counsel from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, which had taken over the case, said it could not proceed with the matter as the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges. NFF’s counsel adduced reasons why the charges could not be sustained:

1.The SPIP Investigation Report dated April 30, 2019 filed in the Honourable Court as Exhibit 7 in the Proof of Evidence and its Findings as contained in page 13 to 21 cleared the NFF officials of all allegations, based on the petition investigated by the Panel.

2. A review of the certified true copy of the NFF Bank account with the Central Bank of Nigeria found that there was no transaction of N4Billion or any amount whatsoever on November 3, 2018 as alleged in the charges filed by SPIP. It was also found that the total inflow into the said NFF account for the whole of 2018 is far less than N1billion, confirming that the alleged N4billion never existed anywhere in the first instance.

In the circumstances, the Defence Counsel applied to the court to dismiss the charges and also discharge and acquit the NFF chieftains, since the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges. The AGF office counsel did not have any objection to this submission by the defence.

Chairman of the LMC, and NFF 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko

The judge then ruled that in view of these facts, she had no option than to discharge and acquit the defendants on all counts, wondering why the case was brought to the court in the first place.

Defence Counsel, Barrister Sani Katu, put the issues in perspective: “The matter was adjourned till today to allow time for investigation as to whether the defendants should be arraigned or not by the Office of the Attorney General which had taken over the matter. The Office of the Attorney General went and investigated the matter and discovered that the proof of evidence could not sustain the charges. On that basis, the Office of the AGF applied to withdraw the charges and the consequence is that the defendants should be discharged and acquitted from all 16 charges, to which the court agreed.”

The NFF Executive Committee members are joined by NFF Deputy GS, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme (left)

IAAF SUBMITS RESPONSE TO SWISS FEDERAL TRIBUNAL

The IAAF today submitted its response on provisional measures to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT), explaining why its DSD regulations should remain in force during an appeal by a single athlete (the appellant) following a “superprovisional order” issued by the SFT and received by the IAAF on 4 June 2019.

The IAAF has specifically requested:

Reversal of the order to the IAAF to super-provisionally suspend the implementation of the DSD Regulations in respect of the appellant.

Dismissal of the appellant’s application to suspend the implementation of the DSD Regulations in respect of the appellant pending the outcome of the appeal.

The IAAF fully respects each individual’s personal dignity and supports the social movement to have people accepted in society based on their chosen legal sex and/or gender identity. However, it is also committed to female athletes having the same opportunities as male athletes to benefit from athletics, be that as elite female athletes participating in fair and meaningful competition, as young girls developing life and sport skills, or as administrators or officials.

© IAAF

This requires a protected category for females where eligibility is based on biology and not on gender identity. This crucial point was accepted and emphasised by the CAS in its 30 April 2019 decision to uphold the DSD Regulations. To define the category based on something other than biology would be category defeating and would deter many girls around the world from choosing competitive and elite sport after puberty.

The IAAF will continue to defend its DSD Regulations and the CAS Award in the appeal proceedings before the SFT, because it continues to believe in equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport today and in the future.

IAAF

IAAF RESPONSE TO SWISS FEDERAL TRIBUNAL ORDER REGARDING DSD REGULATIONS

The IAAF received today (15:00 CET) from the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) a “superprovisional order” instructing the IAAF to suspend the application of its DSD Regulations as they apply to the appellant. No other athlete is covered by the order. As of this date, the order is scheduled to remain in force only until 25 June 2019, the time the SFT has given the IAAF to respond to the appellant’s case.

The SFT ‘s decision was “ex parte” meaning that it was requested and issued without the IAAF’s knowledge. The IAAF did not receive appellant’s filings or the order until today so has not had the chance to explain why the DSD Regulations should remain in force and applicable to all affected athletes while the appeal is pending.

The IAAF will continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls in our sport today and in the future.

The IAAF is committed to the full participation of women in the sport of athletics, be that as elite female athletes in fair and meaningful competition, as young girls developing life and sport skills, or as administrators or officials. Regrettably, it was not so long ago that women were not permitted to compete in sport at all. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are at the forefront of that work, including being one of the only international sports federations to pay women and men equal prize money.

The IAAF fully respects each individual’s personal dignity and supports the social movement to have people accepted in society based on their chosen legal sex and/or gender identity.

However, the IAAF is convinced there are some contexts, sport being one of them, where biology has to trump identity.

© iaaf.org

The IAAF also believes the right to participate in sport does not translate to a right to self-identify into a competition category or an event, or to insist on inclusion in a preferred event, or to win in a particular event, without regard to the legitimate rules of the sport or the criteria for entry. It is legitimate for all sport in general, and for the IAAF in particular, to create a protected category for females and to base eligibility for this category on biology and not on gender identity. This crucial point was accepted and emphasized by the CAS in its 30 April 2019 decision to uphold the DSD Regulations. To define the category based on something other than biology would be category defeating and would deter many girls around the world from choosing competitive and elite sport after puberty.

The IAAF considers that the DSD Regulations are a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of protecting fair and meaningful competition in elite female athletics, and the CAS agreed.

The IAAF will seek a swift reversion of the superprovisional order moving forwards so that the DSD Regulations apply to all affected athletes in order (among other things) to avoid serious confusion amongst athletes and event organisers and to protect the integrity of the sport. In due course, the IAAF will defend its DSD Regulations and the CAS Award in the appeal proceedings before the SFT.

IAAF

COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) UPHOLDS THE APPEAL FILED BY PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal arbitration procedure between the French football club Paris Saint-Germain Football SASP (Paris Saint-Germain) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The appeal filed at the CAS on 3 October 2018 by Paris Saint-Germain against the decision issued on 19 September 2018 by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) (the Challenged
Decision) is upheld and the Challenged decision is set aside.

The decision issued on 13 June 2018 by the Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA CFCB in which the
investigation into Paris Saint-Germain’s compliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations
was closed is thus final and binding.

On 22 Junend 2018, the Chairman of the UEFA CFCB, on the basis of Article 16 (1) of the UEFA CFCB
Procedural Rules (the Applicable Rules), ordered that the Adjudicatory Chamber review the decision
taken by the Investigatory Chamber on 13 June 2018.

The Adjudicatory Chamber ruled on 19 September 2018 that the case should be referred back to the Investigatory Chamber for further investigation. On 3 October 2018, Paris Saint-Germain filed an appeal at the CAS seeking to have such decision annulled on the basis that Article 16 (1) provided for a 10-day review period during which any review should be instigated and completed and that the Challenged Decision was manifestly late.

The CAS Panel in charge of the matter issued its decision on the basis of the parties’ written submissions. The CAS Panel concurred that the 10-day time limit which starts to run from the date of communication of the decision of the Chief Investigator to the CFCB Chairman, as set out in Article 16 (1) of the Applicable Rules, did indeed mean that the review conducted by the Adjudicatory Chamber should have taken place within ten days and that since the Challenged Decision was issued beyond the 10-day time limit, the Challenged Decision was untimely and must be annulled.

IRFAN ANSARI BANNED FROM ALL CRICKET FOR 10 YEARS

Irfan Ansari has been banned from all cricket for 10 years after the ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal found him guilty of breaching three counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

During the hearing, the Tribunal heard evidence that Mr Ansari approached Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed during the Pakistan series with Sri Lanka in the UAE in October 2017 with a view to engaging him in corrupt conduct by soliciting information from him. Mr Ahmed reported the approach immediately and an ICC ACU investigation ensued which resulted in these charges and decision.

Mr Ansari is bound by the code as a result of his affiliation to the Pakistan cricket team and also as a result of being a coach to two teams that participate in domestic matches in the UAE.

Irfan Ansari

He was found guilty of the following three offences under the Code:

Article 2.3.3 – directly soliciting, inducing, enticing or encouraging a participant to breach the Code Article 2.3.2 by disclosing inside information.

Article 2.4.6 – failure or refusal to cooperate with the ACU’s investigation by failing to provide accurately and completely the information and / or documentation requested by the ACU in October 2017. This included a request by the ICC ACU to take possession of and/or copy or download information from his mobile devices.

Article 2.4.6 – failure or refusal to cooperate with the ACU’s investigation by failing to provide accurately and completely the information and / or documentation requested by the ACU in February 2018. Again this included a request by the ICC ACU to take possession of and/or copy or download information from his mobile devices.

Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – ACU said: “I’d like to place on record my thanks to Sarfaraz Ahmed who showed true leadership and professionalism from the moment he reported this approach. He recognised it for what it was, rejected it and reported it. He then supported our investigation and subsequent tribunal.

“This is the first time we have prosecuted for failure to cooperate with an investigation since the new rules enabling us to demand the participants hand over their phone for examination and the sanction reflects the seriousness of the offence. It is an important tool to aid our investigations and continue in our efforts to rid the sport of these corrupters.

CAS DISMISSES IBRAHIM APPEAL

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed Karim Ibrahim’s appeal against the IAAF decision last year to remove him from the IAAF Council.

In a decision last August, the IAAF Vetting Panel found Ibrahim was not eligible (within the meaning of the IAAF Constitution and IAAF Vetting Rules) to hold office as a Council Member.

In dismissing Ibrahim’s appeal, the CAS Sole Arbitrator Murray Rosen QC found that: “The Vetting Panel was fully entitled to find that Mr Ibrahim was not Eligible and there was nothing unfair about the process and result of its investigation to that effect.”

He further determined: “The Appellant failed to satisfy the Integrity Check and also failed to meet his disclosure obligations”.

The CAS ruled that Ibrahim should pay the costs of the appeal process and further ordered him to pay CHF 4000 (four thousand Swiss Francs) to the IAAF as a contribution toward its legal and other costs incurred in connection with the case. The full CAS decision can be found here.

Vetting Panel update
New Zealander Don Mackinnon was appointed as chairman of the Vetting Panel at the IAAF Council in December, after serving as acting chairman from November 2018.

Mackinnon is managing partner of a boutique law practice in New Zealand and has extensive experience working in the governance of different sports, including rugby union, rugby league, cricket and netball. He currently chairs a number of appointment panels in sport and was recently appointed Chair of the professional rugby union club, The Blues.

Namibia’s Esi Schimming-Chase has recently been appointed to the panel, joining original members Mackinnon and Professor Mark Pieth, founder and Chair of the Basel Institute on Governance.

Schimming-Chase is a Senior Counsel of the High Court of Namibia who specialises in constitutional litigation, arbitration and mediation. The first female Advocate in her country to be appointed as Acting Judge of the High Court, Schimming-Chase is the Chair of the Council of the Namibian University of Science and Technology and has been a Council Member of the Law Society of Namibia since 2005.

Founded in 2017, the Vetting Panel is an independent group of experts appointed to oversee and assess the eligibility of new and existing officials being put forward for IAAF roles.

The Vetting Panel’s next order of business will be the review of candidates nominated to serve on the Nominations Panel.

IAAF

SRI LANKA COACH CHARGED UNDER ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION CODE

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged Sri Lankan bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa with three counts of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. Mr Zoysa has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect. The charges are as follows:

1. Article 2.1.1 – being party to an effort to fix or contrive or to otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect of an International match.

2. Article 2.1.4 – directly soliciting, inducing, enticing or encouraging a player to breach Code Article 2.1.1.

3. Article 2.4.4 – failing to disclose to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit full details of any approaches or invitations he received to engage in corrupt conduct under the Code.

Mr Zoysa has 14 days from 1 November 2018 to respond to the charges. The ICC will not make any further comment in respect of these charges at this stage.