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On air: Should you get paid for playing for your country?

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Ben James Ben James | 06:00 UK time, Friday, 9 July 2010

Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson meets Winnie Madikizela Mandela - AFP PHOTO / Debbie Yazbek / Nelson Mandela Foundation Ghana's footballers have returned from the World Cup to a heroes' welcome in Accra, after their quarter final exit against Uruguay.

As well as the warm feeling of praise from their fellow citizens, they will have been consoled in defeat by a $20,000 bonus from their government:

Goalkeeper Richard Kingson, who spoke on behalf of the players, thanked the President for "fuelling our energy with $20,000".

But shouldn't the honour of representing your nation be enough?

Some of the inquests into England's exit touch upon the issue of money again and again:

I and many thousands of people in this country i'm willing to bet are prepared to pull the ENGLAND shirt over our heads and play for nothing you ungrateful load of ****. Whinge, Whine, Moan.

... declares England fan J.J. on the Yahoo / Eurosport site.

It's worth pointing out that before the tournament, the England players said they would donate their match fees to charity, with John Terry saying this:

... we all agreed we are privileged to be footballers and to wear the England shirt," Terry said. "To step out onto that Wembley pitch is a dream for everyone and to get paid for it didn't seem that right, so that's why we decided to give the money to charity."

Of course, some might argue that it's easier for multi-millionaires to give up some of their money than it would be for other people.

There is lots of comment about lots of teams on the issue of World Cup earnings - South Korea, Brazil, Spain, South Africa and Germany are some of them.

But if you're seething about players cashing in on national honour, read these articles - one from Ghana and one from Ireland - which give a different view.

Another editorial from Ghana, while not talking about payments in particular, says a quarter final exit shouldn't be seen as a success - so should money only be forthcoming for the tournament winners?

Do you agree that it "doesn't seem right" to get paid to play for your country? Or is it fair enough to get hefty payments if you're an elite athlete? Does it make a difference if it's government money, instead of money from sponsors?

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