Whoever 'cooked' 2014 World Cup boycott story is 'stupid' - Michael Essien

Four years after the World Cup in Brazil and the drama of Ghana airlifting money to pay the appearance fees and bonuses of the Black Star players ahead of their game against Portugal, a former Black Stars Player, Michael Essien has stated that whoever ‘cooked’ up the story of the stars threatening to boycott their game is very stupid.

According to him, the match was an official match and the Black Stars were in no position to threaten their officials of boycotting any official game organised by Fifa.

“Nobody had to boycott the match, it is an official game and we cannot say we will not play so whoever came out with that story is very stupid,” he said without mincing words.

Michael Essien believes that Ghanaians should always hear both sides of the story before criticizing but not to wait until four-years before they come back asking the other side what happened.

The midfielder stated that to him the issue is dead now and as a country “we have to leave it behind and move forward.”



Background

It would be recalled that there were reports in the media that the Black Stars of Ghana wanted to boycott their World Cup match against Portugal due to unpaid agreed appearance fees and bonuses.

It emerged that, since the World Cup started, the Black Stars have not been paid any monies (appearance fees and bonuses) and the players were losing their patience with some boycotting their training session and threats to boycott the Black Stars match against Portugal.

But ex-president John Dramani Mahama had to promise the players that, their monies will be received before their next match against Portugal.



Ghana’s Presidential Jet according to Justice Senyo Dzamefe commission report was used to ferry $4 million cash to the Black Stars in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup, an act which subjected the country to international ridicule.

In the final report of the Commission which investigated what led to Ghana’s worst-ever performance at a World Cup, the three-member panel stated it was President John Mahama who personally ordered the lifting of the cash following the players’ revolt over their appearance fees.

The report said the President felt it was becoming an ‘embarrassment’ to the country and he had to make the order for the cash to be flown.

“On Saturday, June 21, 2014, a total amount of $4m was paid by Bank of Ghana to the Ministry of Youth and Sports agent in the presence of the Chief Director, Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu, Chief Accountant, Mr Prosper Apasu and an official of National Security.”



The report said the $4m was to be lifted upon withdrawal from the central bank, but there were challenges with respect to flight arrangements and it persisted till Monday, June 23, 2014, even though Ghana was scheduled to play Portugal on June 26, 2014.

“The President of the Republic had no choice but to release the Presidential Jet to lift $4 million cash so as to make sure the players received the money before the Portugal match,” the report said.

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