France's footballers have been given more than a little extra incentive to win Euro 2012 after the country's footballing chiefs agreed to pay each player a €320,000 bonus in the event of a triumph.
The 23 footballers aiming to achieve glory for France at Euro 2012 will be handsomely rewarded if they succeed in winning the trophy.
The French Football Federation (FFF) has agreed to dish out bonuses totalling €320,000 to each player if Les Bleus are victorious in the July 1 final. If the team triumphs it could set the Federation back almost €7.5 million in bonuses alone.
The financial incentive for France’s stars is believed to be the most generous on offer to all the teams competing at this month’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
France open their campaign on June 11 against England, whose players only stand to receive €125,000 in the unlikely event they win their first trophy in 46 years.
German football chiefs are hoping a cash enticement of €300,000 per player will help spur their team towards glory in an international competiton for the first time in 16 years. The bonus represents a €50,000 rise on the incentive offered to the German team at Euro 2004.
Federation president Noël Le Graët has defended the offer, which was negotiated with senior players including Patrice Evra and Florent Malouda.
“I understand the criticism, but when you look at the bonuses Chelsea players got for winning he Champions League, ours are nowhere near it,” Le Graët told French daily Le Parisien. “You have to remember that these players are good taxpayers. Bonuses are logical, they represent an exchange.”
Le Graët also reminded fans that the FFF’s own annual revenue figures had shot up with the help of TV income and sponsorship deals from €150 million to around €200 million. The FFF president said he would never ask the French players to wear the esteemed blue shirt for free.
Players will only get the full €320,000 if they win the trophy. The fee is made up of €100,000 if France qualifies from the group, an extra €50,000 if they make the semis, a further €70,000 if they reach the final and a final €100,000 if they lift the trophy.
If France repeat the dismal showing of Euro 2008 and again fail to get past the group stage, the players won’t receive a penny.
'We did not rob the bank'
The French players were also on the defensive this week, claiming hefty bonuses were simply a part of modern football.
Veteran midfielder Florent Malouda, who joked with the FFF president that a zero was missing from the total, backed the potential windfall, saying “it’s not as if we’ve robbed the bank”.
“This is normal in professional football,” said Malouda. “You have to remember it’s an incentive, and if we don’t get out of the group, we go home empty-handed.
“It’s nothing new. It’ s part of a contract. What’s important is that we are transparent.”
Central defender Philippe Mexes added: “This reflects the money that is in professional football these days. When we are out playing on the pitch, we will not be thinking about it at all.”
Malouda said this week that negotiations had gone well, which is a far cry from the last time players and officials met in a room to discuss money.
France’s 2010 World Cup fiasco, which saw the team finish at the bottom of their group, was followed by a row over bonuses between the team and the Federation chiefs, which wrangled on for months after the last ball had been kicked.
After the poor preformances, and the fact French players shamed themselves by going on strike in supported of the banished Nicolas Anelka, the squad accepted to forfeit their bonuses, each worth around €110,000.
Despite the promise, a row ensued over who should receive the sponsorship money. It was eventually settled months later, when officials and players agreed to donate the cash towards youth schemes and amateur football.
Players are not the only ones who could fill their coffers over the next three weeks of knock-out football, with each country’s football associations standing to make healthy sums if their teams progress.
The team that lifts the trophy could pocket up to €23.5 million, which forms part of a total prize pot of €190 million from European footballing authorities UEFA.
There will be money riding on each game with England standing to win €1 million if they beat France on Monday.
If the game ends in a draw, both teams will earn €500,000.
Date created : 2012-06-05