DOWNS’ animal farm
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.
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