Ghana World Cup cash row inspires Hollywood filmmakers

By John BennettBBC World Service Sport
Ghana national football team
Ghana will have contracts with players at future international tournaments to avoid the problems encountered at the 2014 World Cup over bonus payments

One of the most controversial stories from the 2014 World Cup is set for the big screen treatment.

In June, the Ghana team refused to train just days before their final group match against Portugal because of a row over appearance fees.

Ghana's government stepped in and sent more than $3m (£1.8m) in cash by plane to Brazil to pay the players.

Bugeater Films, a United States film production company, is aiming to turn the story into a Hollywood hit.

They have hired screenwriter Darryl Wharton-Rigby to pen the movie.

Wharton-Rigby, a former staff writer for acclaimed US TV series Homicide: Life on the Street, is writing a thriller based on the incident.

Darryl Wharton-Rigby, screenwriter
"You can just see that scene playing out in your mind with someone like Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson as the guy having to save the day."

"Football and the players needing the money is kind of the backdrop to the story," Wharton-Rigby told the BBC World Service Sportshour programme.

"But it's really about the journey of the guy who actually is entrusted to deliver the money and what happens if he doesn't get it there in time.

"I actually want the guy who's the hero of the story to be from Ghana. I think there should be a hero who is African telling the story."

The Ghana players, including Christian Atsu, who is on loan at Everton from Chelsea, AC Milan's Michael Essien and Middlesbrough's Albert Adomah, received the money ($100,000 each) the night before the game.

It was recently revealed that many of them kept the cash in the dressing room during the Portugal match.

Christian Atsu of Everton
Christian Atsu was among the Ghana players caught up in the appearance fee row

"It's very much truth stranger than fiction," explained Wharton-Rigby.

"I saw footage of the police cars taking the money on the highway and you can just see that scene playing out in your mind with someone like Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson as the guy having to save the day. You can see all kinds of mayhem happening on the highway."

"It's 50-50 as to whether it will get made, we're still at the early stages so we're going to take it one step at a time. Hopefully we can write a great script and get someone who is attached to it. It's a fascinating story and I think audiences internationally would really take to it."

"I can see the poster now; lots of soccer balls, a stadium and a guy on the run."

Top Stories