White paper gives Stars right to demand more WCup bonuses

Ghana’s senior national team players are now set to get more than the $100,000 they each got for being selected to represent the country in the last World Cup.

This is as per the new proposal and consideration by government as released in a White Paper on Thursday evening.

Following the fiasco that was Ghana’s participation in Brazil, a three-man Commission of Inquiry was set up to look into the issues surrounding the country’s entire effort, among others.

In its report, the Justice Senyo Dzamefe-led body recommended that the State allocate a pegged amount of US$100,000 as appearance fees before a World Cup, should Ghana qualify.

But government disagreed, proposing that a percentage of the appearance fee paid by FIFA be paid to the players instead.

“Government is of the view that pegging the appearance fee at a maximum of US$100,000.00 has the effect of permanently freezing the fee at that level to the disadvantage of the players when the fees go up…”

“…Government is of the view that the better approach is to fix the maximum appearance fee payable to the players as a percentage of the appearance fee paid by FIFA. Using the 2014 total appearance fee of US$8 million out of which US$100,000.00 was eventually paid to each player, this works out to1.25%. This should be the maximum amount allocated for each player of the 23 players. Out of this amount, the negotiated amount to be paid to each player should not exceed 60%. Government so directs.”

The White Paper, presented by Attorney General Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, also rejected the commission’s recommendation that the remaining balance in the World Cup players appearance fee account be divided equally amongst the 23 players.

It instead recommended that the money be used for projects of the players’ choosing.

Considering that the major cause of Ghana’s poor performance had to do with agitation over bonuses that were in arrears, leading to the infamous flight of more than $3 million halfway across the world, government’s stance will be a victory for players.

The commission’s recommendations sought to curtail the regular practice where, for the past five years, Black Stars players have wielded so much power as to hold the nation to ransom should bonuses not be paid in amounts they want.

A classic case in point was when former players Elvis Afriyie Ankrah confessed, at the point of tears, that the team’s conduct in Brazil shocked him.

He had said on August 21, last year: “My Lord, [the players] were assured that they would definitely get the money before the next match. They are professionals and know very well that they had to train adequately to win matches.

“Eventually, even though the money came on the eve, they still got the money but by not preparing for the match they couldn’t deliver.”

He had continued: “The Black Stars resolved not to train ahead of their crucial encounter with Portugal if their appearance fees were not paid…”

The Minister’s words trailed off, as he dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief. And Elvis wept.

He had subsequently recommended that a fixed amount be agreed on for the players to forestall such an occurrence.

The government’s refusal to accept this plea from the former sports minister means the nation can easily be held to ransom again in future tournaments.

Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith
Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith

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