Retired football administrator and former board chairman of Hearts of Oak, Mr Emmanuel Martey Commodore-Mensah, has disclosed that the cancellation of the 2001 FIFA Club World Championship played a key role in the club’s failed promise to the squad that won the 2000 CAF Champions League.
Players of the club’s ’64 battalion’ squad that delivered the trophy in 2000 have been bitter over the failure of the club to honour their $25,000-per-player promise made to them after winning the Champions League in that year.
Mr Commodore-Mensah, who was then a board member of the Rainbow team, said on Asempa FM that the club was very determined in delivering on its promise as it served as motivation for the players to win the Champions League and qualified for the 2001 FIFA Club World Championship in Spain, in the process.
“Yes, we made that promise, knowing that the World Club Championship was going to be the deal breaker financially.”
He explained, however, that later on FIFA announced that its marketing company in charge of the tournament, International Sports and Leisure (ISL), had gone bankrupt – hence cancellation of the Championship that year.
“For the cancellation, FIFA gave us some monies as compensation and not the monies we were expecting from the tournament for which we made that promise to the players, hence we failing to fulfill our promise to the latter.”
According to him, from the compensation money, they gave the technical team and the playing body some monies and used the rest of the money to offset debts accrued from the Champions League campaign.
“Yes, we rewarded the players enough for the history they made for the club that year. Given how much came to the club, we did what was needful. I know, I am prepared to put my hand on my chest and say we gave them something, as to whether it was enough or not, it is a discussion for another day, Mr Commodore-Mensah added.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY