Players of the Black Stars will receive $15,000 each as bonus for qualifying for the quarter-final stage of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and also have agreed to a 50 per cent slash in their bonuses.
The qualification bonus was in line with the existing practice since 2006 to depart from rewarding the team per match at tournaments for a system that rewards the team based on their progress from one stage to another.
Under the new bonus package, the team will receive $15,000 per player for the group stage, $5,000 for winning the quarter-finals, $6,000 for a semi-final win (same for winning the third-place match) and $7,500 for winning the tournament – a reduction of the budgeted $15,000 per player.
However, he gave an assurance that if the team wins a fifth African Cup, the government will announce a special reward package when the victorious team returns home.
The bonus reduction, Mr Asiamah stressed, affected the entire technical handlers led by coach Avram Grant, as well as honorariums paid to accompanying members of the Stars management committee. He emphasised that the government and leadership of the GFA and players arrived at this radical remuneration package in the best interest of Ghana.
“We are all aware that previously, they were taking $10,000 as bonus for the group stage, but now there is a 50 per cent slash down across board at each stage… quarter-finals, semi-finals, third-place or final. The players have agreed; they have all welcomed it and this is the best way to go,” noted Mr Asiamah.
The MP for Atwima-Mponua indicated also that due to the tight fiscal conditions the government inherited, it was important to take another look at the team’s entire bonus regime, especially in view of concerns by Ghanaians that too much money was being spent by the state on the team.
“In football, fans matter, supporters matter, Ghanaians matter and as a government, we need to listen to them and take their concerns and sentiments about perception that the players mainly play for money and not out of loyalty to the nation into consideration. The players have embraced the decision that going forward it is important to win back the support of Ghanaians.
“Ghanaians from today will support the team because our aim as government is to restore the dignity, the respect, the integrity and the massive support the Black Stars have enjoyed all these years.
The minister-designate said he was happy that during his negotiations with the players, they indicated that money was not their topmost priority in Gabon but rather to win the trophy and restore Ghana’s lost glory in Africa’s showpiece competition, having endured a trophy drought since the team won a fourth continental title in 1982.
“We all left happy and satisfied that we have a good beginning and are not going to have the old exchanges over money, and if anything at all, there would be dialogue and positive engagement.”
Nyantakyi said the players and officials had been humbled by the experiences of the past, hence he was particularly happy with the consultation process and consensus-building that ensured all key partners were satisfied with the bonus package agreed upon.
“We can’t run away from the fact that events in Brazil 2014 have had an adverse effect on the level of support and confidence that Ghanaians had in the team.
“The players are human beings, they are Ghanaians, and they have relatives and friends so they know how people feel about it. It has an effect on all of us, the impression created that they are playing because of money. But that is far from the truth,” Mr Nyantakyi said.
“They told the minister that they can play without money and wait for government to announce a package at the end of the tournament if they win the trophy.”
Source: Graphic Online