A new comprehensive bonus structure is to be put in place for the Black Stars and all national football teams, including other sporting disciplines, in order to avert agitations over unpaid bonuses as it occurred during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The minister-designate for Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah, told the media in Port Gentil that a new incentive package, which has seen the Black Stars’ bonus reduced by 50 per cent at the ongoing AFCON, is the beginning of a comprehensive arrangement to reward national teams in line with the country’s economic strength.
The new system will also ensure that henceforth, players and officials of the Stars will no longer receive their bonuses in cash during tournaments but will be paid through their bank accounts with the team’s official partner, uniBank.
“The era of carrying large sums of money to competitions to pay bonuses is ended and will not happen again, not under my watch.
“We are going to have a stakeholders conference to take a decision on the bonus structure on all the national teams, including the other sporting disciplines. That decision will take place after this tournament, but for now this is what we’ve arrived at for AFCON 2017,” said Mr Asiamah.
In a radical move by the government, which the MP for Atwma-Mponua announced last Monday, the Stars’ bonus package was halved from the existing one, with the team receiving $15,000 instead of the budgeted $30,000 for qualifying for the quarter-finals of the competition.
The new structure affects the head coach Avram Grant – who is entitled to twice the bonus received by the players — and his technical assistants, as well as the accompanying members of the Stars Management Committee who receive honorarium.
Mr Asiamah explained that the bonus structure to be discussed and agreed upon by the key stakeholders should be what the government could sustain.
Beyond economic reasons, the reduction in the Stars’ bonus package, according to Mr Asiamah, who until recently was the Ranking Member on the Youth and Sports sub-committee of Parliament, was taken in response to sentiments by the public over what they considered to be too much money paid to the team, and the perception that the players place financial considerations ahead of loyalty to the nation.
This measure, he indicated, would restore Ghanaians’ support and love for the players who agreed to the new incentive package. His sentiments were corroborated by the GFA president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, who lauded the collaborative effort through which the new bonus structure was arrived at.
“It’s welcome news and it’s very important that there was consensus in arriving at this figure so that both the government and beneficiaries were in agreement.”