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Soccer-Ghana cash row must never happen again says Valcke

Reuters

By Mike Collett

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 27 (Reuters) - FIFA will take steps to ensure that the pay dispute which disrupted Ghana's World Cup preparations will not be allowed to happen at future tournaments, Jerome Valcke, FIFA's secretary general said on Friday.

Ghana's players missed training in Brasilia on Tuesday before their final Group G match against Portugal on Thursday because of the row over fees.

Instead of playing football and preparing for the game, which they lost 2-1, the players held a series of meetings to discuss the matter and the nation's president, John Mahama, later stepped in to try to resolve the dispute.

Around $3.0 million eventually arrived in Brazil in cash with a convoy of cars bringing the money to the team's headquarters.

Photographs of the convoy of vehicles ensuring the safe passage of the cash went viral on social media sites.

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah said the players wanted their money in cash because many of his squad did not have bank accounts in Ghana.

Valcke could not hide his disappointment with the situation when he spoke to the media at FIFA's daily briefing, also citing the case of a similar problem with Togo at the 2006 World Cup.

"What we have to do for future World Cups is make sure there is an agreement between players and national associations for payments of the bonuses before the finals.

"It is sad that they end up with a story where they were talking about strike and the players won't play.

"It is also sad it came in cash."

Valcke said he was prepared to intervene in the row between the players and the FA, with FIFA providing the money to the players up front, deducted from the World Cup payments FIFA makes to each national association.

"I said show me the contracts, I am ready to sign a letter that the money will be transferred by bank transfer to their personal accounts and we'll deduct it from the amount that we pay to the national association."

That did not happen and the money came in cash from Ghana.

"It is sad the way it happened and also happened in 2006 with Togo.

"We will decide that for future tournaments all national associations provide us with the agreements so this episode can never happen again.

"They, the players, have the right to receive this money but it could be much easier to do via bank transfer."

Ghana's World Cup was not only blighted by the row over money but also the suspension of midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari who were kicked out of the squad after they clashed with coach Appiah and a Ghana Football Association (GFA) official.

The team finished bottom of their group with one point and were heading out of Brazil on Friday. (Reporting by Mike Collett, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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