Sometimes, you wonder in amazement at how much international footballers are paid, with the best offers (since a few years ago) coming from clubs in China, which is not exactly where the world’s most impressive football is being played.
Their football quality may eventually match that of Germany, Portugal, France or Brazil, but at the moment, that looks like quite a long way off.
It’s good that athletes are getting what seems like an obscene sum for kicking around a football for about 90 minutes, mostly once a week, in a competitive game – but RM2 million or RM3 million a week for that?.
Not many would refuse the kind of offers that enticed Argentinian Carlos Tevez or Brazilian Oscar to recently sign up to play in China, especially someone heading to the tail-end of an illustrious career like Tevez.
The opportunity to earn this kind of dough is similar to what brings some of the world’s best rugby players to clubs in Japan, France or England. It’s also the kind of money that influences players on the fringe of national selection, or who think they would most likely not make it to the highest level to play offshore, away from New Zealand, Australia or South Africa.
While those still eligible to play for the Wallabies and Springboks, or those All Blacks who retired after the 2015 World Cup, are being paid salaries in excess of a few million ringgit playing in the north, this is for a season’s rugby, not a month. Certainly not for a week!
The world’s best paid rugby player is believed to be former All Black Dan Carter, but he is only getting £1.4 million a year over a three-year period.
In the weeks leading to reports late last year that some All Blacks may finally make it into the millionaires’ list salary-wise, came news that the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust, set up to help with the education and other needs of the two sons of the late great who died in Nov 2015 ,did not manage to raise enough in New Zealand to ensure that the money would multiply in a big way over the long term.
This then prompted those behind the trust to organise a dinner in London around the time of the last Autumn internationals. It was well attended, with many former internationals at the event.
The initial net amount was reported to be at least £100,000. Not huge by today’s standards, but a decent amount to add to what was already in the coffers until then.
The downside was the news that Lomu’s third wife, Nadene, who is also mother to the two boys, had bought a Porsche, which, although financed by a loan, just came at the wrong time and didn’t help perceptions, although she is excluded from benefitting in any way from the trust and does not have any control over how the money is spent.
Jomu’s sad episode, in which he was reported to have almost no money in the bank at the time of his death, is in stark contrast to how another All Black great, former captain Richie McCaw, has planned for life after retirement.
A few weeks ago, press reports in New Zealand suggested that McCaw had bought a luxury five-bedroom home in Christchurch costing about NZ$2.5 million. This was believed to be his seventh real estate investment.
In addition to being a qualified fixed wing pilot, McCaw co-owns Christchurch Helicopters, for which he also flies.
There were others before Lomu who didn’t have much with them after their retirement or upon their deaths, and this was especially so before rugby turned fully professional later in 1995.
And not everyone who played during the professional era, Lomu included, was well paid in the initial years, but many have managed rake in a decent income post-retirement.
New Zealand Rugby is having a savings scheme and financial consultancy will surely be much needed by those currently playing the game there.