January 20, 2018

Spain WCup bonus sparks anger among lawmakers

Monday, June 9, 2014

The other side of soccer fever

By Pablo Toledo
For the Herald

Lawmakers(1) reacted with anger over the 720,000-euro bonus each Spain player will get if the national team wins the World Cup in Brazil.

Captain Iker Casillas and vice-captain Xavi Hernández signed the deal with Spain's soccer federation June 3 on behalf of(2) the 23 players. It was an increase from the 600,000 euros each player received when Spain won the 2010 tournament.

Lawmakers Pablo Martín Pere and Susana Ros of the opposition Socialist party criticized the premium as “disproportionate” and “an insult to citizens” given(3) the recent economic crisis.

Lawmaker Josep Antoni Durán i Lleida tweeted that Spain would pay “more than twice” the bonus Germany would if it wins the tournament.

“Are we twice(*) as rich as Germany?” his tweet said.

Germany's team will receive 300,000 euros if they win, having kept the same agreement they struck when they participated in Euro 2012.

Spain's economy began to crumble(4) in 2008 with the collapse of its bloated(5) real-estate sector, and unemployment soared(6) to 26.1 percent at the close of 2013.

“It's brutal,” said food wholesaler Juan Burgos, 44, who had travelled from northern Navarra to sell produce in Madrid. “With so many people in Spain hurting so badly, those kinds of payments don't fit with our everyday reality.”

Like other countries that have the euro as their currency — such as Ireland, Portugal or Greece — Spain suffered as the government imposed harsh(7) austerity measures in order to get its public finances into shape.

Despite stinging cutbacks, unemployment will remain above 20 percent until 2017.

Lawmaker Laia Ortiz said she would raise the matter of the squad's premium in Parliament and lambasted soccer for being “another world” where “there is no crisis.”

Each member will receive a payment of 360,000 euros if the squad reaches the final, and 180,000 euros if it makes the semifinals.

Spain attacking midfielder Juan Mata said such payments were “sometimes used against us,” but that he would be playing “with the same enthusiasm I had as a child, in a bid to try and win another World Cup, without thinking about all the rest."

The 2014 World Cup winner will be awarded US$35 million by FIFA, but many say the money should go toward programmes that promote the game at all levels.

Adapted from a story by Harold Heckle, Associated Press


Different countries have different systems of government, but whatever names they have (MPs, congress representatives, senators, etc.) lawmakers are always the members of the legislative power – the “makers of the laws.”

On behalf of (2)
When you do something on behalf of someone else, you do it representing them, for them or in order to help them.

Given (3)
“Given” is much more than the past participle of “give”: here, it is working as a preposition meaning “considering that.” Another frequent use is as an adjective meaning “already arranged,” e.g. “we will meet at the given time.”

To crumble(4)
Apple crumble is a delicious cake... but baking aside, to crumble means to break something into small pieces, and here is used to talk about something that begins to fail or gets weaker.

Bloated (5)
When something is bloated it is bigger than usual because it is full of liquid or gas. Here, a bloated economy is one that is artificially larger than usual. Both meanings have a negative connotation.

To soar (6)
When a bird soars, it flies very high in the sky at great speed. When prices or figures soar, they rise very high very quickly.

Harsh (7)
Something harsh is cruel, severe or unkind. It is also used to describe unpleasant, strong or rough things (a harsh winter, harsh lights, harsh criticism).

* Twice
You probably know that “twice” means “two times” — but did you know about the small family of three that this word belongs to?

There are only three words in English like it, and one of them is never used these days! In Old English the words for the numbers 1, 2 and 3 were “one,” “twa” and “thrie,” and the suffix “-s” was added to indicate the genitive case (the possessive, which is the origin of the possessive “'s” in Modern English). In Middle English (12-14 centuries) they derived into “ones,” “twiges” and “thries,” and the Modern English (around 1600) spellings are our good friends “once,” “twice” and... “thrice.”

Yes, thrice is an actual word! One that hardly anyone uses these days, but still good and valid. There are no similar words for any other numbers (no “fource”, “tence” or “millionce”).


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