World Cup 2022: Cameroon, for the image and for the president

Will he be in the locker room at the Al-Janoub stadium just before kick-off, motivating his troops with one of those fiery speeches he has made a specialty of in recent months? Or will he suddenly be discreet, contrary to his habits, he the former star player and new president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot) Samuel Eto’o, at a time when his Lions indomitable must roar from the decisive start of their World Cup against Switzerland, Thursday, November 24?

The question is not neutral for the national team of Cameroon, which, in Qatar, will evolve more than ever under the gaze and the pressure of the former star striker of FC Barcelona and Inter Milan, always prowling in the “den”, the nickname of the base of the Lions wherever they are. The management of the team makes no secret of this. Sent to a press conference on Monday, November 21 in place of coach Rigobert Song, his deputy Sébastien Migné defined the roadmap as follows: “Trying to give the best image possible (…) hoping to satisfy the demands of our president. »

“Bring the trophy home”

And they are high, these requirements. Nothing less than “bring the trophy home”, hammers Samuel Eto’o on all tones. Since his arrival at the head of Fecafoot in December 2021, the leader has only one idea in mind: to remake Cameroon a leading nation in world football, and to put an end to these regular poor performances where Lions with spoiled teeth bite into the void, drooling on their past glory.

Since its exciting historic quarter-final in 1990, Cameroon has certainly celebrated its ninth participation in the World Cup in Qatar, a record for a country on the African continent, but its last outings in 2010 and 2014 (the team was absent in 2018) leave a taste bitterness of chained defeats (six in total). These disillusions, Samuel Eto’o knows them for having lived them, like that of 2002 (elimination in the first round after a victory and a draw), even more acute for him because, “with an incredible team then, we were not convinced enough that we could win”, he often repeats. Hence the objective he sets today, even if it means overdoing it.

Ways of a blaster

It’s in his nature anyway. He arrived at the head of Fecafoot with the manners of a blaster. Outside the old executives, make way for new men. His. Samuel Eto’o changed all the coaches of the youth selections, and of course chose the leader of the national team, Cameroonian and not foreign as usual: the former most capped player of the Lions (137 caps ) Rigobert Song, one of his faithful supporters during the conquest of federal power.

He then applied himself to finding funds to relaunch the national championship, bloodless, prior to the essential increase in the level of local players. He focused on reviving his institution, which was in bad financial shape. “With me, no eight-month salary arrears, no more bonus problems,” he boasted at the beginning of November in an interview of more than two hours with the Cameroonian private channel Canal 2 International.

The coach in the hot seat

The Eto’o revolution? She doesn’t please everyone. His decision in August 2022 to break a contract running until the end of 2023 with the equipment manufacturer Le Coq sportif to prefer the American company One All Sports, an unknown brand in football and linked to motor racing, has raised many questions. His regular outings in the Lions locker room, always filmed by federal cameras, question Rigobert Song’s freedom in his choices.

On this chapter, the non-selection of Michael Ngadeu, decisive passer on the qualifying goal at the World Cup in Algeria in March 2022 (2-1), continues to cause ink to flow. The player had criticized certain talkative interventions by Samuel Eto’o. His place in the team had however been guaranteed by Rigobert Song.

The coach himself is also in the hot seat, as the last matches of the Lions seem worrying. In order, two defeats against Uzbekistan and South Korea, and two draws against Jamaica and Panama. In a raised group including Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia, Cameroon will have to surpass themselves to access the rest of the competition. “We are a united group and we have a lot of desire”, assures striker Éric Choupo-Moting. Certainly. The president is now waiting for something concrete.



Image rights, World Cup… How much do the Blues earn with the French football team

The French Football Federation (FFF) finally gave in to pressure from star striker Kylian Mbappé. In a press release published on the evening of Monday, September 19, the institution which governs French football undertook to “revise as soon as possible” the agreement governing the image rights of the Blues.

“The FFF is delighted to work on the outlines of a new agreement which will enable it to ensure its interests while taking into consideration the concerns and legitimate convictions unanimously expressed by its players”, indicates the FFF. This turnaround comes a few hours after Kylian Mbappé refused to participate in the photo session scheduled for Tuesday, a second episode in the conflict between the Paris Saint-Germain striker and the FFF.

€25,000 match bonus

The quarrel over image rights in the national team does not originate from the remuneration of players in the Blues but is more related to the control of the player’s image. The Parisian player thus claims a right of scrutiny over the brands with which his image could be associated.

Compared to the salaries received in their respective clubs, income from image rights (referred to as “match bonuses”) in the national team remains marginal. They amount to €25,000 per match, which is the only remuneration for players in selection, at least outside of international competitions. By way of comparison, Kylian Mbappé would receive at Paris Saint-Germain around 85 million euros per year, according to revelations from the New York Times in May.

Half a million euros in the event of victory at the World Cup

To these match bonuses can be added “victory bonuses” during international competitions such as the Euro or the World Cup. Unlike the first, paid by the French Football Federation, the second are not taken from the budget of the FFF but distributed by the organizing bodies.

In the case of the World Cup, for example, FIFA pays each federation participating in the World Cup a variable sum depending on the number of victories and the course in the competition. An envelope of some 417 million euros is planned for the World Cup in Qatar this winter. Of this sum, approximately 40 million euros will be distributed by Fifa to the selection which will leave with the trophy.

According to the agreement in force at the FFF, 30% of this sum will then be donated to the players and to part of the technical staff, the coach and his assistants. Or €446,000 per person (in the case of a list with 23 players selected) or €402,000 (in the case of a list extended to 26 players). A larger endowment than during the World Cup in Russia won by the Blues in 2018 during which each player received around €350,000.

Wage inequality

During the Euro last year, UEFA had distributed nearly 331 million euros to the federations. Eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland, Didier Deschamps’ men still left with almost €173,000 each, against just over €300,000 allocated to the Italian winners.

These amounts are far higher than those received by women. During the Women’s Euro 2022, which saw the France team fail in the semi-finals, barely two million euros were made available to the federations by UEFA. Even in the event of a coronation, the French women would have received only €60,000, despite a gesture made by the FFF.



Football: image rights at the heart of a legal dispute between former players and Panini vignettes

The Panini stickers, known to all young football fans, are at the heart of a legal battle between former players against Panini and the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP), the players’ union.

Fifteen professional football players who have played in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 have taken Panini France to court. They consider that the use of their image rights, ceded to the company by the UNFP, is illegal.

“There is no more consent”

The former French international Jérôme Rothen, passed by the PSG, but also lesser known players like Nicolas Dieuze, Tripy Makonda, Vincent Bessat or Pierre Ducasse filed a complaint against the company which manufactures the famous stickers, last October. The case is now in the hands of the Paris court, which is examining the case on Wednesday June 30.

For mee Élie Dottelonde, lawyer at the Paris bar and counsel to these players, “The UNFP, via the professional football charter, monopolizes the right to market their image”. When several players from several teams are represented, “there is no longer any concept of consent” individual, he explains to AFP, the management of rights falling to the UNFP.

The lawyer also deplores the“opacity” of the union, which “holds the monopoly of the image rights of the players and derives profits from it”through a contract with Panini. “The amounts of these contracts do not show”, he points out. But the players do not draw from it, on their side, “only 150 to 200 € per year”depending on whether they play in Ligue 1 or 2. A consideration deemed “ridiculous”“compared to the millions of euros of turnover achieved by Panini” and the sums “unknowns” affected by the UNFP.

“Small Reward”

For UNFP lawyers, this “little reward” of players only constitutes“a small advantage in all those whose (professional players) benefit thanks to the union: end-of-career savings, actions for young footballers”. And the sums collected by the syndicate “are only a source of budget for the UNFP”.

For Panini, football – excluding special editions, not governed by contracts with the UNFP – “represents only 10% of turnover”, assures Alain Guerrini. At the head of Panini France for more than 40 years, he recalls “the importance of complying with the law and respecting existing agreements”like the one linking Panini to the UNFP in the use of players’ images.

First complaint

“Everything is done legally”he assures. “We are surprised by these actions, which came much after the fact (most of the complainants were no longer professional players), the players could not ignore” that they were reproduced on the thumbnails, since they received the albums, insists Alain Guerrini.

During their career, “none of them ever complained” with Panini on questions of image rights. “Only once did a player not wish to be reproduced. He told us about it, and he didn’t..

For Panini, contractual relations with the UNFP are “confidently and transparently”. “Everything has been working very well for several years”recalls Alain Guerrini, hoping that justice will reinforce these contractual links.