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Togo Threatens to Boycott Match Against Swiss

  • Reuters, Sunday, June 18, 2006 2:14 PM
Will they or won't they? The Togo saga continues, and this time FIFA had to intervene to ensure that the Togolese would even show up for its contest against Switzerland tomorrow. Togo players threatened to hold Group G hostage unless someoneanyonepays them their ransom of $200,000 each to play, and $30,000 extra for each win. The only problem with these demands is that Togo is broke. Consider, for a little perspective, that the average per capita income is well below $1,000 in Togo. As it happened, the squad was on its way to Dortmund for its match tomorrow, but issued a warning to a FIFA delegate that it would not play unless the players were paid. According to a FIFA spokesperson, the delegate told them the penalty "would be extremely serious" if the team boycotted the match. Apparently, some kind of agreement was made, but what that is remains uncertain. No team has ever withdrawn from the World Cup in the tournament's 76-year history. You can imagine that any nation that does so would be fined heavily and likely banned from subsequent tournaments. "We are on the bus now," Togo coach Otto Pfister told Reuters. "I think they have found a solution but I don't know what it is and I don't want to know," he added.

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