Soccer-Cameroon squad refuses to depart for Brazil in row over cash


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By Tansa Musa and Anne Mireille Nzouankeu

YAOUNDE, June 8 (Reuters) - Cameroon's World Cup squad refused to board their scheduled plane to Brazil on Sunday in a strike action over money for the tournament, officials said.

Cameroon's footballers have previously refused to play due to rows with the football federation over cash, and the run up to this tournament has been undermined by disagreements over the bonus payment players should receive for playing in Brazil.

National team coach Volker Finke said that talks were underway as players are complaining that the 50 million CFA francs ($104,000) that the players were paid was not enough

"I am sure the problem will be solved and we (will) take off either this afternoon or in the evening," Finke told Reuters.

Players remained at their hotel and journalists were barred from meeting them. The president of Cameroon's football federation held talks with his staff in his offices.

A member of Cameroon's official delegation confirmed the row over the payment of bonuses but said that it had been resolved by early afternoon.

"They just told us that the problem is solved and that we have to be at the airport at around 9.30 PM (2030 GMT) for the travel," the source told Reuters, asking not to be named.

A charter plane had been due to leave Yaounde on Sunday morning for Brazil, where Cameroon play their opening game of the tournament against Mexico on Friday.

Cameroon players had last week threatened to go on strike until they received promised payment for participating at the World Cup but suspended the strike ahead of their international friendly against Germany last Sunday, the French sports paper L'Equipe reported.

Highlighting unease within the camp, players boycotted the traditional handing over of the national flag to the captain on Saturday after their last warm up match, forcing the prime minister to give it to their German coach instead.

Cameroon are in Group A with hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico. ($1 = 480.7700 Central African Cfa Franc Beacs) (Writing by David Lewis, Editing by Ossian Shine)

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