There are money problems in Ghana's World Cup camp. The country's soccer stars have demanded that they receive more than $3 million in appearance fees for playing in the World Cup, expressing their displeasure that they have yet to be paid. And there's a twist: they're demanding it in straight cash.
Crazy Ghana press conference. Players demanding appearance money in cash. Asked whether they'll keep it, Christian Atsu said: "In our bags."— Stuart James (@StuartJamesGNM) June 25, 2014
Ghana's coach was asked how much money the players are demanding. He laughed and then said: "The players would kill me if I revealed it."— Stuart James (@StuartJamesGNM) June 25, 2014
According to Bloomberg, the players are going to get their wish. The country scrambled to find the money and has reportedly sent a flight full of cash to Brazil:
"The players insisted that they will want physical cash," Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yammin said in comments broadcast by Accra-based Citi FM. "Government had to mobilize the money and a chartered flight to Brazil. The money is in excess of $3 million."
There could be some problems, though.
The football association may find it hard to move such a large amount of money into Brazil suddenly if it doesn't have the necessary clearance from customs or import permits from a central bank, said Ion De Vleeschauwer, chief dealer at Bidvest Bank in Johannesburg. Bidvest is the biggest chain of money changers in South Africa. A plane with that much money also presents a large hijacking risk, he said.
"At the drop of a hat, to bring in $3 million in cash, it might get you into a spot of bother," he said. "I don't think the Brazilians will confiscate it but they just may not allow it to be released."
Hopefully it gets there, if not only because star player Sulley Muntari might be running low after handing money out to residents of a Brazilian favela.