Int’l footballers saw big payday in Chechnya: report


The big question that remains after the Weirdest Football Match in the World (between some of the world’s biggest international names and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov) is how much did Maradona et al. get paid? Website, citing TV program Canal Football Club, thinks it has the answer.

According to the site, the program aired Sunday night showed Alain Boghossian, one of the players who took to the pitch in Grozny on Wednesday night, receiving a diamond-encrusted watch from the city’s chief of police. The site also says Maradona got paid a million euros for his appearance, while the other players – including Fabien Barthez, Franco Baresi, Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler, among others – got between 20,000 and 50,000 euros for their appearances (Luis Figo earned closer to Maradona’s wage, it said, citing the program but no additional sources).

The site says Boghossian, a former player who is now assistant coach for the French national team, told L’Equipe newspaper Friday that he “didn’t take a euro and had nothing to reproach himself with” after the match. “It’s a private initiative, independent of the French Football Federation. Several days ago, a player called me and proposed I participate in a match in Chechnya for a humanitarian cause. I come from Armenia, where the people suffered like the people in this very close region. So I responded that I would go. I took vacation days and went. For free, clearly.”

The site says Canal+ shows the other stars admiring Boghossian’s watch, while the player himself says: “All these diamonds, guys. Me, they gave me diamonds because I played well.” Later, it says, he defended himself: “Yes, I got a watch just before leaving, but not one knew there would be such a gift. As for me, I didn’t get any money for playing.”

In the past, Kadyrov has said that the international football players he has invited to Chechnya play simply "out of respect for the Chechen people." Terek Grozny, the republic's main club, is financed by secretive Swiss-based businessman Bulat Chagaev.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.