Lawrence: We deserve bonus
LIAM LAWRENCE says that the Ireland squad should be rewarded for their efforts in qualifying for Euro 2012, with discussions on bonus payments expected ahead of the upcoming friendly with the Czech Republic.
The Portsmouth player is out of the squad for that game and believes his international career is over, but would be entitled to a share of the pot after being involved in three games on the road to Poland.
Lawrence told a Sunday newspaper that the players are ready to fight their case. Back in 2002, the players who were involved in all the World Cup qualifiers received €65,000, with a smaller share for others depending on how many matches they were involved in. Preliminary discussions have taken place about payments this time around, and there are suggestions that the FAI may offer a reduced figure.
It's a sensitive issue, with the squad conscious of being perceived in a negative light for seeking money at a time when the country is struggling.
The figures on offer would have minimal impact on the higher paid members of the squad, but they would be more important to those on the lower end of the scale. Lawrence, for example, has gone without pay at Portsmouth with the club now back in administration. He expects senior players to meet with the FAI around the Czech game and raise the issue.
"I think they will. Only because if it was a game against the Czech Republic and they were entitled to €1,000 each and they weren't getting it, I don't think there would be that much of a mess about it," he said.
"But the fact they have gone two years and qualified for a major championship, the lads feel they deserve a little pat on the back. And they do, definitely.
"International football is more of an honour than a job. It is tricky to touch on. It's not about being greedy. If you are entitled to some money, you are entitled to some money. It doesn't matter if you are a footballer on £10 a week or £10,000 a week. It should be paid. That's the end of it."
The FAI will receive €8m from UEFA for reaching the tournament.