Ghana to have formal agreements for player bonuses
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Ghana is planning to take pre-emptive action for the next World Cup to avoid off-the-field problems over bonus payments.
The country’s football association said Wednesday it will have contracts with players for their bonuses at future tournaments. The move comes after the federation had to rapidly bring in $3 million in cash to keep the team playing in Brazil.
GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi said Ghana had also used cash “in order to prevent player revolts” at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but would now revert to “signed agreements” and bank transfers for the bonuses.
The decision follows a series of pay disputes involving African teams at the World Cup in Brazil. Cameroon and Nigeria players also argued with their federations and threatened to strike unless they were paid immediately instead of waiting until after the tournament.
The problems were because informal promises made to African players by their federations had been broken before, former Nigeria captain and FIFA technical study group member Sunday Oliseh said.
“You know, promises have been made to them and when it gets to the World Cup some of these promises are not really fulfilled,” Oliseh said, calling the off-field problems that surrounded three of the five African teams in Brazil “painful.”
“It’s one of the reasons why I think we have not won the World Cup yet,” the former midfielder said. “Because when it comes to quality (players), Africa has (them).”
Ghana’s players didn’t have signed agreements for their bonus payments for Brazil and feared they ultimately wouldn’t see their money. The demands to receive their money ahead of the decisive final group game against Portugal forced Ghanaian authorities to fly the stacks of cash in on a chartered plane.
Cameroon’s squad refused to even get on their plane for Brazil before the tournament started until their bonuses were improved and guaranteed, and Nigeria missed a training session as they demanded their payments for qualifying for the second round of the tournament before they played France.
Following the Ghana problems, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that FIFA would now look at becoming involved to ensure teams have bonus agreements in place well before the start of future World Cups.
“It is sad that we end up with such a story,” Valcke said of the issues that undermined Ghana’s World Cup.
The West African nation was a quarterfinalist and the feel-good story at the last World Cup and could have been the first African nation to make the semifinals. But Uruguay striker Luis Suarez stopped a goal-bound shot in the final seconds of extra time with his hand, Ghana missed the penalty and then lost in a shootout.
Four years later and surrounded by off-the-field issues, Ghana didn’t win a game at this year’s World Cup.
“It hurts me personally,” Oliseh said. “We saw what the Ghanaians did last World Cup. Just one handball short of going into the semifinals. It’s not as if the quality is not there.”
Associated Press writer Francis Kokutse in Accra, Ghana, contributed to this report.