Rio Olympics: Athletes Protest Preferential Treatment For Footballers
The U23 footballers are enjoying what appears like a special deal in Brazil. The 29 members of the squad were paid their camp allowances for the first 11 days on Monday while the other athletes have yet to get any.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Solomon Dalung confirmed through his media aide that they were paid following their 1-0 victory over Sweden on Sunday. Dalung held a meeting with the players after the game. The players are entitled to $150 daily camp allowance. Each player received $1,650 for 11 days.
The minister said the upfront payment was to “ensure that the players are focused and well-motivated.” He promised that all entitlements would be given to all athletes before the Games end.
“All your camp allowances have been budgeted for. There will be no story-telling during the Games. You will get all your allowances and entitlements as we don’t want any distractions. We want you to remain focused. You have established that you’re great men and determined to conquer, despite all odds. There can’t be any other sacrifice more than this,” Dalung said.
When asked why the other athletes were not paid, the sports ministry said that the others would be paid as quickly as possible but they could not explain why they started with the footballers.
Nigeria Olympic Committee spokesperson Tony Ubani said the other athletes should be paid latest on Wednesday.
“I am sure that the others will get their cash on Wednesday or even starting by Tuesday evening. That has been confirmed to me. It is not a deliberate ploy to pamper the footballers,” he said.
The minister, who watched the Nigeria versus Sweden game, will also be in Sao Paulo to cheer on the footballers on Wednesday against Columbia at the Arena Corinthians for their last Group B match.
The game comes up at 11pm Nigerian time.