Friday 15 December 2017

Money players want could go a long way at cash-strapped schoolboy clubs

SO, whose side are you on in the great Euro 2012 bonus battle? The FAI, stretched tight by commitments to the Lansdowne Road redevelopment and fighting a reduction in funds across the board, or Giovanni Trapattoni's players, most of them millionaires?

Not an easy one, is it? Liam Lawrence thinks it's straightforward enough mind you and he made a strong case when asked about the possibility that senior men in Trapattoni's squad could take the FAI on over the level of bonuses they are due from qualification and participation in the finals.

"I think they will. Only because if it was a game against the Czech Republic and they were entitled to €1,000 each and they weren't getting it, I don't think there would be that much of a mess about it," he said.

"But the fact they have gone two years and qualified for a major championship, the lads feel they deserve a little pat on the back. And they do, definitely.

"International football is more of an honour than a job. It is tricky to touch on. It's not about being greedy. If you are entitled to some money, you are entitled to some money. It doesn't matter if you are a footballer on £10 a week or £10,000 a week. It should be paid. That's the end of it."

Unfortunately not. Down through the years, player bonuses have always been significant in terms of the overall take any time Ireland qualified for a major event, and if the squad bases a claim on Japan/Korea 2002, it would seem there is a huge gap between what is on offer and what they want.


The players, no doubt, will argue that during the qualification period, it was their efforts on the pitch which put bums on seats at Lansdowne Road, even if there were few enough of those during the 18 months it took to qualify.

They will also argue that FAI CEO John Delaney has said on several occasions that the 'take' from Euro 2012 will be €8m, and when combined with the extensive marketing and sponsorship now available because of qualification, that there should be more than enough to go around.

But there is never more than enough in Irish football and the funding deficit caused by huge repayments on the Lansdowne Road debt and a reduction in support from Government agencies means that football in this country has never been under so much pressure.

Schoolboy clubs across the country are desperate for funding and it doesn't need to be said that the €2m or so which the players will probably look for would buy an awful lot of boots, shirts and shorts.

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