DOWNS’ an­i­mal farm

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

If money is the root of all evil, its un­even dis­tri­bu­tion in the Mamelodi Sun­downs camp is a mas­sive source of dis­con­tent.

Like the fa­mous line from Ge­orge Or­well’s clas­sic, An­i­mal Farm, “All an­i­mals are equal, but some an­i­mals are more equal than oth­ers”, the dif­fer­ent fac­tions in the Brazil­ians are com­plain­ing about pref­er­en­tial fis­cal treat­ment.

Some play­ers feel they have been left with empty pock­ets, not a bonus wind­fall, af­ter con­tribut­ing to the club’s league suc­cess last sea­son.

This state of af­fairs came to the fore last week­end af­ter the team’s de­feat to Plat­inum Stars in the MTN8 quar­ter­fi­nal when, ap­par­ently, a few staff mem­bers se­cretly cel­e­brated af­ter the team bombed out of the tour­na­ment.

Prob­a­bly the best-paid staff mem­bers in lo­cal foot­ball, they are un­happy about not get­ting bonuses af­ter the team won the PSL crown last sea­son.

Club sources said the morale in the Downs fam­ily was at an all-time low af­ter staff were left empty-handed fol­low­ing their PSL cham­pi­onship win last sea­son.

They claimed only play­ers and the tech­ni­cal team re­ceived bonuses and, as a re­sult, those who did not get a cent were left won­der­ing if their con­tri­bu­tion was not ap­pre­ci­ated.

“It has al­ways been the norm for every­one to share in the team’s suc­cess, but this was not the case at the end of last sea­son although every­one pulled up their socks,” said the in­sider.

“This has left a bit­ter taste in the mouth for many of us. The team’s suc­cess is not only on the field of play, every­one con­trib­uted to­wards our suc­cess, but seem­ingly some peo­ple didn’t feel this way.

“This has not gone down well with many of us and it doesn’t mat­ter whether the team wins or not be­cause only the play­ers and the tech­ni­cal team are re­garded highly.”

The source said even a few tech­ni­cal team mem­bers were not happy af­ter get­ting less than play­ers who did not play reg­u­larly through­out the sea­son.

“The dis­par­i­ties on how the money was dis­trib­uted also left some peo­ple dis­ap­pointed as they got 10 times less than oth­ers,” the source con­tin­ued.

“You ask your­self, ‘What were the cri­te­ria used to al­lo­cate the bonus?’ Worse still, some play­ers were pre­pared to dig deep into their pock­ets to con­trib­ute to­wards us get­ting money, but some­body stopped them. Do you think peo­ple are go­ing to be happy with this turn of events?”

The pay­ments were from R1.2 mil­lion to less than R50 000, ac­cord­ing to the source, who also re­vealed that the last time Downs won a tro­phy – the 2008 Ned­bank Cup – every­one shared in the win­nings. The source said the same wind­fall was ex­pected af­ter the league tri­umph. The club’s se­nior ad­viser and com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing man­ager, Joe Latak­gomo, said: “Mamelodi Sun­downs be­lieves that play­ers should not be giv­ing part of their bonuses to non­play­ing staff and man­age­ment as there is a dif­fer­ent in­cen­tive struc­ture for them. Play­ers, whose ca­reers are short, must in­vest their money and pre­pare for when they no longer play foot­ball.

“Mamelodi Sun­downs be­lieves that we are pay­ing our staff ex­cep­tion­ally well and have pro­vided em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for many of our for­mer play­ers so that they can con­tinue to earn a liv­ing.”

In an ef­fort to counter our story, Sun­downs on Fri­day pub­lished a lengthy re­sponse on its web­site about the bonus struc­tures.

PHOTO: BARRY ALDWORTH / BACK­PAGEPIX

WE ARE THE CHAM­PI­ONS Alje Schut of Mamelodi Sun­downs lifts the tro­phy as he cel­e­brates with his team-mates and tech­ni­cal staff mem­bers af­ter win­ning the 2013/14 Absa Pre­mier­ship ti­tle. The club’s staff are cry­ing foul about be­ing ig­nored when bonuses were dished out

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