Brazil’s World Cup winners awarded bonus — 50 years late
Brazil’s World Cup winners awarded bonus — 50 years late
Brazil’s sports ministry said the 54 players or their survivors will be given a one-off bonus of 100,000 reais ($49,100) and will also qualify for a monthly stipend of 3,916 reais.
The country’s social security minister called the payments “an act of justice” that recognized the role Brazil’s World Cup winners played in the country’s development.
Some Brazilians believe those players put the country on the world map and also established Brazil as a soccer power.
The 1970 team in particular, thanks to the arrival of color television and the brilliance of players such as Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Tostao, captured the world’s attention and is still considered one of the greatest teams of all time.
“I think that the Brazilian people recognize the debt we owe to these athletes,” Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said.
“It is worth stressing that football back then did not offer the salaries and sponsorship deals they do today. The athletes were almost like artisans and the country cannot conceive that these people who lifted the name of the country are going through tough times,” Rebelo added.
Many players said the money would transform their lives. With the exception of Pele, very few live comfortably as their careers did not earn them the kind of riches enjoyed by today’s big names.
“About 85 percent of the players live middle- to lower-class existences,” said Marcelo Neves, the son of twice World Cup winner Gilmar and now president of an association of former players.
“This money could be the difference between life and death. Felix (the goalkeeper in the 1970 team), who died last year, couldn’t get the medical attention he deserved because he didn’t have a very good health plan and the hospital he went to wasn’t the best. If he had had money he might be alive today.” Neves stressed that some of the older players do not get a regular pension because soccer was not a recognized profession in the 1960s and they were not able to make social security payments.
“It wasn’t because they didn’t want to,” he said. “Most of them are over 65 years of age so this money will ensure the rest of their lives can be lived out in dignified circumstances.” However, not everyone agrees the veterans deserve a special pension half a century after their heroics, much less a fat bonus.
“This is a tremendous slap in the face to all those Brazilians who have worked their whole lives and don’t get that amount of money,” said Atila Nunes, a radio host who has criticized the award.
Nunes said if anyone should be assisting the old players it should be the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), and not ordinary tax payers.
Others have asked why only winners get the pension when other players who trained and played just as hard did not. And why only soccer? What about champions in other sports? One player has already rejected the money, saying even back in the 1950s and 60s football players earned higher salaries than most workers.
“At the time we were well rewarded for the title,” said Tostao, a striker in the 1970 team and now a respected columnist for the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
“World Cup winners who are going through difficulties should be helped by the government, through Social Security, just like any other citizen, and by the existing government entities that help ex-athletes,” he added. “The CBF and clubs also have an obligation to help ex-players who need assistance.”
Australia get crucial 1-1 draw with Denmark at World Cup
- 38th-minute penalty was set up after Denmark forward Yussuf Poulsen was penalized for a handball
- Going into the tournament, world No. 36 Australia were the lowest-ranked team in Group C with the others all in the top 12
SAMARA, Russia: Mile Jedinak’s penalty kick gave Australia a 1-1 draw against Denmark and new life at the World Cup on Thursday.
The 38th-minute penalty was set up after Denmark forward Yussuf Poulsen was penalized for a handball following a video review.
Poulsen was also given a yellow card and will be suspended for the team’s final group match against France because of accumulation.
The goal was Jedinak’s second from the spot at this year’s World Cup, and it stopped Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s five-match streak of clean sheets for the Danes.
Christian Eriksen scored in the opening minutes for Denmark, which have gone unbeaten in 17 straight international matches.
Going into the tournament, world No. 36 Australia were the lowest-ranked team in Group C with the others all in the top 12.
With a loss to France in the opener, a defeat on Thursday would have made it nearly impossible for the Socceroos to advance to the next stage. Denmark, meanwhile, won their first match against Peru.
Australia lost to 1998 World Cup champions France 2-1 on Saturday in Kazan, with both French goals coming as the result of video technology. But the score did not reflect the Socceroos’ gritty defensive performance.
Australia again took a defensive stand against Denmark, which were back at the World Cup after missing out on the tournament in Brazil.
The Danes were coming off a 1-0 victory over Peru on Saturday in Saransk.
Poulsen, who plays for German club RB Leipzig, scored the lone goal.
It is the fifth World Cup appearance for the Danes, who reached the quarterfinals in 1998.
Australia were also making a fifth trip to the World Cup. The team’s best showing was in the 2006 quarterfinals.
Moments after Mathew Leckie’s header for Australia sailed over the goal, Eriksen sent a left-footed shot over goalkeeper Mathew Ryan’s outstretched arms.
Pione Sisto nearly gave the Danes the advantage just after the halftime break, but his shot went to the right of the goal. Australia added some firepower in the 68th, bringing on 19-year-old Daniel Arzani as both teams scrambled for a winning goal.
Australia lost Andrew Nabbout in the 74th minute with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. He was replaced by Tomi Juric.
Denmark’s opening victory over Peru was marred by the loss of starting midfielder William Kvist, who fractured two ribs and is likely to miss the rest of the tournament. He was replaced in the starting lineup against Australia by Lasse Schone.
Denmark’s last loss was in October 2016 against Montenegro, 1-0 in Copenhagen.
The highlight of Group C will be the match between France and Denmark on Tuesday in Moscow. The top finishers in the group will go on to play opponents from Group D, which includes Croatia, Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Eriksen, who plays for Tottenham in England, has scored in 17 of the national team’s last 20 matches.
During World Cup qualifying, he scored 11 goals for the Danes, third-best in Europe behind Poland striker Robert Lewandowski with 16 and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo with 15.
Now 26, Eriksen was the youngest player at the World Cup in South Africa. He has 79 appearances for the national team and 23 goals.
He was named man of the match on Thursday.