Latest update: 04/07/2012
Charity asks France players to hand over Euro 2012 bonuses to homeless
A homeless charity in Lyon has asked the French Euro 2012 squad, four of whom were made subject to disciplinary proceedings on Tuesday, to follow the example of their Italian counterparts and give up their bonuses for a worthy cause.
By Ben MCPARTLAND (text)
A charity has asked France’s footballers to hand over their Euro 2012 bonuses to help the hundreds of homeless people in the city of Lyon.
Notre-Dame des Sans-Abri, a charity based in Lyon, appealed to the players in a letter sent to the French Football Federation (FFF).
With France qualifying for the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, each player is reportedly set to receive €100,000, meaning the total amount to be paid to the 23-man squad is €2.3million.
France’s disappointing Euro 2012, in which they were eliminated in feeble fashion against Spain, was exacerbated by the poor behaviour of some of the team’s ‘bad boy’ players.
Midfielder Samir Nasri caused outrage after aiming a foulmouthed rant at a journalist, and a recent poll in the French media revealed only 20 percent of the country had any affection for Les Bleus.
Notre-Dame des Sans-Abri’s president Dominique Mentré believes it is time the players made amends.
“It’s an opportunity for the players to leave this tournament behind them and recapture the support of the French public,” Mentré told FRANCE 24.
The Italian team, who surpassed expectations by reaching Sunday’s Euro 2012 final, have reportedly agreed to hand over their bonuses to the region of Emilia-Romagna, which was devastated by a series of earthquakes earlier this year.
“We think the Italians set a beautiful example,” Mentré told FRANCE 24. “There are other associations who could benefit, so we are not the only ones requesting their help.”
According to the charity’s president, €100,000 could cover the costs of 2,500 nights of accommodation or 22,000 hot dinners for those who live on the streets of Lyon.
“The amount that you are going to receive can help a large number of men, women and children towards a better life,” Mentré said in his letter to the players.
“In the current climate of austerity and cuts we thought you would be interested in helping us fulfil our work.”
Around 5,000 people every year walk through the doors of Notre-Dame des Sans-Abri in search of help.
On Tuesday, the president of the French Football Federation, Noël Le Graët, said the players bonuses would be "frozen" for the moment and "may or not be redistributed" to good causes.
France’s 2010 World Cup debacle, during which the players outraged the nation by going on strike, was also followed by a wrangle over bonuses.
Players, including Patrice Evra, agreed to hand over the money to good causes but a dispute ensued over the choice of organisations, which meant the money was not passed on until months after the tournament had ended.