Friday, 4 November 2011
In the Case of SAMSON v. THE FOOTBALL FEDERATION (A Sneak Preview)
(DISCLAIMER: The following article is entirely fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead and other similarities to real-life circumstances are purely accidental and the author offers his sincere regrets)
We got in touch with the Mr. Samson’s legal team and they let us in on their proposed arguments. We are overawed by the pure genius and cannot help reproducing them here for our readers:
Your Lordship, for no ascertainable reason, the defendant (hereinafter “the Football Federation”) has always given our client a raw deal despite the fact that he always maintained a quiet and harmlessly brooding mien, and stayed free of controversy. If you recall my Lord, in his days as a player, they gave him the Number 13 jersey despite strong historical evidence that the number bodes ill-luck. All pleas by our client bounced off their obdurate ears, and my Lord, we all recall the consequences only too vividly. Our client missed that crucial penalty in the semi-finals against Cote d’Ivoire at Tunisia ‘94 and almost gave the nation a collective thrombosis before the game suddenly turned around on its head.
Yet, our client’s insistence on a Jersey change was scorned as superstition and there was even talk of dropping him from the team until that second game in the USA 94 World Cup against Argentina. My Lord no doubt joined the euphoric crowd of Nigerians to celebrate our client’s excellent strike. Yes, we eventually lost to suspect officiating, but we joined the golden ranks of underdogs who scored against the Diego-era of Argentina. Why? Because our client had persevered and obtained a jersey change! (He wore the Number 12 at the competition!) We are constrained to add here that a certain Mr. Ezeugo who inherited the number 13 got involved in a career threatening car crash shortly after the Mundials. Enough said.
Thankfully, our client continued to enjoy blistering form in his meritorious sojourn in France and was deservedly due to retire to quiet enjoyment of well earned splendor. But no, the Football Federation sought him out again. We, his legal team expressed reservations at that initial offer because the Federation has a long history of turning brilliant men to piteous wreckages. But our client humbly accepted to do service to the Fatherland. But our hunch was proved right. The defendants wielded another raw deal in that offer.
Now, everybody knows that our nation is jinxed in the Under 20 FIFA Championship. We have been so destined since the climax of the Damman Miracle, and every other thing has remained, well…an anti climax. My Lord you can see now that this was another obvious trap to tarnish our client’s golden career. But no doubts sir, you were a witness to how things eventually played out. The trap failed woefully, because although the jinx swallowed our client nonetheless, the circumstances of his defeat kept him on the right side of public opinion, thus throwing a spoke in the wheels of the malevolent defendants.
And, at this juncture my Lord, we would like to move for the National teams of Argentina to be joined as necessary defendants to this suit. Yes, that second defeat at their hands, has been trailing our client’s career in an uncanny way. We suspect some kind of ghoulish vengeance for that daring strike in ‘94 referred to in foregoing paragraphs.
My Lord, the defendants arm-twisted our client to continue to the Beijing Olympics and mandated him to achieve Olympic gold. We saw how he bravely steered the lads all the way to the final. Again, the Argentines (!) stood in the way. My Lord, as usual, the voice of the people moved justice to our client’s favour again. The chants got alarmingly close to threats of anarchy if the Federation ever sacked him. (My Lord certainly understands what anarchy portends for the judicial institution, and we hope this reference serves as useful practice direction).
However, in the face of unending mediocrities we continued recording at the senior team level, (compounded by yet another cheap defeat by Argentina [again!] at the Mundials; the defendants sneaked up to our client yet again. Our client accepted; and in his characteristic commitment to God (My Lord recalls that his inaugural speech was a gospel tune) and country, he failed to see through the glaring jealousies at work in the Football Federation.
We advised him on the warning signs when the defendants paraded a suspiciously weak (Argentine!!!) team against our senior team which he had given the needed face-lift. Our client scaled through; and the Federation yielded to the alien concept of a second leg in a friendly match (!) just to catch him short. When defeat only made Nigerians chant his name the more; the defendants executed the ultimate coupe de grace. They infiltrated his camp. His goalkeeper was turned berserk, and on that final agonizing day against the Guineans; the fair legs of his once lethal winger grew leaden and stiff.
The defendants could not resist their glee when the hitherto supportive public poll grew hazy and in the ensuing confusion, they struck- by purporting to SACK him. But my Lord, this Samson may be bald but he is no push-over, emboldened by our robust Legal Practice.
The argument on the other side is that our client failed to meet the milestones stated in his contract. They insist that he was mandated to attain the semi-final spot at the African Nations Cup next year. .But my Lord, we did not even reach the competition on account of force majeure! Oh yes! The sweltering Abuja heat on that fatal match-day was a natural disaster that obviously interfered with seamless performance of his obligations under the contract. Now, if the country had reached the competition and failed to get to the semis, we would not task the time of the court and would gladly accept the defendant’s debriefing.
Here we wish to refer to the case of Avram Grant v. Chelsea (2008, UCL) wherein the plaintiff had been wrongfully sacked because of failure to attain European glory. Of course the highhanded defendant-employer paid millions in compensation, because there was no laid down expectation, thus no failure to perform; therefore the sack was unjustified. The similarity to our case is striking My Lord. The contract was silent on what the liabilities were if the country failed to qualify! And my Lord, it is trite Law that the express mention of something implies automatic exclusion of the unmentioned ones. (Expressio unis est exclusio alterius!)
In the light of the foregoing, we hereby seek the following orders from this Honourable court:
· That the position of the Chief Coach of the country’s senior team be declared vacant pending the final determination of this suit; and until such further period as counsel on either side have fully and finally exhausted their respective rights to Appeal up to the apex court.
· That a compensation of Two Billion pounds (amounting to the financial value that would have accrued to our client if he had accepted offers in Europe these last six years) be awarded our client. We gather that Chelsea FC looked his way when they bought his protégé midfielder. (We urge that you dismiss the defendant’s position that our client would not have survived 6 years under Chelsea’s tempestuous ownership- as mere speculative conjecture)
· Public Apology from the Argentine senior and age-group teams, as well as a directive to FIFA to stand down any fixture between the two countries for the next ten years.
· That Mr. Odemwinge be fined a year’s wages in both club and country for “refusing to play” against the Guineans. (See the case of Tevez v. Manchester City (unreported)
My Lord, we humbly close our case with the maxim: Those who live in Glass Houses should not throw stones.