Spezia Hit With FIFA Ban For Signing Sadiq Umar, Nura Abdullahi, Orji Okonkwo, Kingsley Michael, 9 Other Nigerians
Italian Serie A side Spezia has been handed a record two year transfer ban by FIFA for illegally signing 13 Nigerian players from 2013-2017.
Spezia had their debut season in the Italian top flight last season but prior to that time they had a partnership with Nigerian Academy based in Abuja called Football Academy Abuja.
The partnership involved the grooming of players in Nigeria at the academy before transferring them to the Italian side who were then owned by same group that provides funds for the Nigerian Academy.
It saw a host of players travel to Italy for youth tournaments and those who did well were made to remain in Italy under some special arrangements which is against FIFA’s transfer laws as they were all minors.
For instance the 2015 Nigerian U-17 duo of Orji Okonkwo and Kingsley Michael were playing for amateur side USD Lavagnese with an agreement that will see them move to Spezia when they turned 18.
The players who are now at Bologna made a u-turn on the agreement after excelling with the Nigerian U17 team at the World Cup. Neither Spezia or Lavagnese could file a case as that would land them into trouble as the players were not 18 yet when they were transferred to the Italian side.
Sadiq Umar now of Almeria and his childhood friend Nura Abdullahi had the most success for all those who were involved in the transfer of minors from Nigeria by Spezia.
They blew all away with the performance for the youth team of Spezia and secured a high profile transfer to Roma. Their success led to the influx of more minors in subsequent years all though with less success.
The club breached “Fifa Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) by bringing several Nigerian minors into Italy using a scheme aimed at circumventing the aforesaid RSTP article as well as national immigration law,” said Fifa. external-link
“The Fifa Disciplinary Committee took into account that Spezia Calcio accepted responsibility for its serious regulatory violations, and imposed a registration ban … for four registration periods and a fine of 500,000 Swiss (US$544,000).”
Two amateur clubs based in the region – USD Lavagnese and Valdivara 5 Terre – were also barred for their role in the illegal movement of the minors from Nigeria to Italy.
Italian police are investigating the case given that national immigration rules were broken during the course of the Nigerian youngsters both entering and staying in the country.
They received a ban of four transfer windows as well, and received a far smaller sanction of $4,300. All three clubs have been notified of the decision.
OwnGoalNigeria.com can exclusively reveal that the players listed below were all part of the agreement that have landed the above mentioned club in hot waters.
Tahir Maigini, David Okereke, Orji Okonkwo, Kingsley Michael, Sadiq Umar, Nura Abdullahi, Suleiman Abdullahi, Theophilus Awua, Rabiu Rilwan, Ani Emmanuel, Chukwuemeka Emmanuel, Haruna Adamu Mohammed.
Source: OwnGoal Nigeria
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