We’ve had plenty of news about individual players not being able to get on the plane to Brazil, much of it heartbreaking, with last-minute injuries keeping them from taking the field at the World Cup.
But this is the first we’ve seen of an entire team threatening to miss out on the tournament: On Sunday, Cameroon players refused to board the plane set to carry them from Yaoundé to Brazil.
According to French sports daily L’Equipe, the reason the players refused to travel was due to a disagreement over bonuses. The extras offered are not what the squad expected. Last month, Cameroon daily Le Jour reported that the government had offered €61,000, then increased it to €68,000. The players were allegedly holding out for €182,000 (~$250,000).
Cameroon have already struggled to make it to the World Cup. Last July, they were suspended from international soccer due to government interference. They were only allowed to play their remaining qualifying games after agreeing to FIFA’s appointment of a normalization committee. Wonder what FIFA will make of this?
This isn’t the first time Cameroon have had disagreements over the amount of bonuses to be paid to the players. Prior to the 2002 World Cup, the players threatened a strike, demanding bonuses owed to them after qualification. It took nearly a week to convince them to leave for Japan.
Cameroon don’t have a week. Their first match, against Mexico, is scheduled for Friday, June 13. Bad luck, indeed.