Morocco : The Gerets controversy reaches fever pitch

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Success has a price. One that most Moroccans couldn’t afford as they stress Eric Gerets’ exaggerated salary : according to the local press, the Belgian, who will take over the Lions of the Atlas, will earn more than all of the country’s government.

Eric Gerets’ appointment is a sign of hope for all of Morocco’s football fans. A big name to coach the country’s national football team. Finally. A glimmer of hope after the Lions saw ten different coaches in the past ten years. But success has a price and the Belgian coach has set the bar high: 250 000 € a month.

With this stunning 250 000€/month [3 Million euros per year], Eric Gerets has earned one of the top spots in the rankings of the best paid coaches.

To compare to the 2010 World Cup trainers, the former Olympique de Marseille boss is only bested by England’s Fabio Capello and his staggering annual €9 Million.

Italy’s Marcello Lippi, with €3 Million, comes close. But Germany’s Joachim Löw [€2,5 Million], Holland’s Bert van Marwijk [€1,8 M€], Spaniard Vicente Del Bosque [€1,5 Million], the man the legend Diego Maradona [€800 000] or the two Frenchies Paul Le Guen [€650 000] and Raymond Domenech [€560 000] are no match for the Lion of Rekem.

Dear Eric Gerets

Such luxury has raised concern throughout the country. Especially on the internet : Facebook took the lead while blogs and forums all of Morocco followed : “To have a better idea of what this mans, take all 35 members of the government. With an average 60 000 DH salary for each of them, you reach 2, 1 million DH. This man, who is going to teach 22 guys to kick a football and score goals, is going to earn more than those who are in charge of a country of 30 million. Spot the mistake…”

Luckily, Youth and Sports Minister, Moncef Belkhayat, didn’t wait too long to answer. And, as expected, his dismissal was abyssmal. Three days after the official nomination of Eric Gerets, the Minister attempted to calm things down by saying the news, relayed by newspapers both in Morocco and abroad, was “simply wrong” and “baseless”.

As for the exact salary of Gerets, Belkhayat kicked the ball into touch. Only a statement from the Minister: “After reviewing the salaries of coaches, both in Morocco and abroad, it was found that they actually receive large amounts sometimes exceeding the salaries of Prime Ministers.”

Eric Gerets is a “high performance coach” in the words of the minister himself, it should not be surprising for him to receive a whopping salary. A polemic sense in a country where more than 5 million people live below the poverty line with an average Moroccan salary of €300, but that will quickly be forgotten if ever the Atlas Lions reached the summit.

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