France left South Africa on June 22nd after hitting the press headlines, not for football performances, but for everything else but football: strike, coaches freaking out, players supposedly fighting etc… We thought the turmoil was over with Laurent Blanc appointing new players, new rules, and with a new President aboard. Unfortunatly a new event hit the news yesterday: The players attending (or witnessing as you want) the 2010 World Cup did not give up on their bonuses.
On June 22nd, Patrice Evra said that ALL players will give up their sponsorship bonuses as they have displayed an appalling image in South Africa. The tabloid L’Equipe (yes it’s a tabloid), reported yesterday that in fact, the french players have not signed the legal documents whereby they would agree not to be granted with the sponsorship bonuses they were supposed to have.
French Captain Alou Diarra told French radio RTL on Tuesday: “The squad want to give sponsorship bonuses to charity in a bid to improve their image following a poor display at the World Cup. We want to do a good deed.”
The players are due an estimated two million euros in bonuses, their share of sponsorship revenue which is unrelated to footballing performance. FFF President said in the meantime “No bonus will be given to the players”.
I’ve been reading french forums and news on this topic, and blatant hypocrisy dominates the debate. Supposedly, players should give up their bonuses because their performance on the pitch was unacceptable. But this is precisely the problem. The money they are to receive is NOT related to their football performances. It is sponsorship agreement each player is bound to have.
So let’s be pragmatic, and look at the facts. The french players are contractually bound to receive this money. Period. Then, if they want to give it to charity, french fry it, put it on a off shore account…….it is purely up to them. It seems that charity is the route they wish to take though. Patrice Evra’s words did not have any relevance if no legal document is signed.
Whether they deserve that money is irrelevant. Willing to donate the money to charity is a nice move, but again, it’s up to them to decide. The FFF President cannot veto what players are due to receive, and once again, another display of his lack of marketing knowledge. To be continued!