ESPN’s World Cup commentator Jorge Ramos may have gotten himself into some legal trouble Monday when he reported that Ecuador team captain Antonio Valencia and five other players received 50 percent of the squad’s total tournament prize money, according to Ecuador’s La Hora newspaper. He made his remarks on his ESPN radio program “Jorge Ramos y Su Banda.”
Ecuador failed to make it out of the group rounds at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but for even getting to the tournament the team received roughly $8 million, of which 60 percent, or $4.8 million, was distributed to the players, according to La Hora. Valencia denies that he along with teammates Walter Ayovi, Christian Noboa, Felipe Caicedo, Jefferson Montero and Jorge Guagua, were getting more than their fair share of the winnings, which the Manchester United player told FutbolEcuador.com was being dispersed according the contributions each player made on the pitch.
“We decided to split the money — from prizes — for minutes played in the qualifiers,” Valencia said in an interview on Ecuador’s Radio La Red (via Ecuador’s Hoy.com). “I am outraged… I will initiate legal action against [Ramos],” he added.
Luis Chiriboga, president of the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF), supported Valencia, noting he would produce documentation confirming who got what.
“Jorge Ramos’s assertion is untrue,” Chiriboga said at a press conference on Tuesday (via Futbol.com). “I spoke to the captain [Valencia] and told him that if they decide to initiate legal action against the journalist and ESPN, the FEF shall be with them.”
Ramos, meanwhile, stood by his story, referring to his source, who he identifies as an Ecuadorian delegation member, as “reliable,” Ecuador’s Radio La Deportiva (via FutbolEcuador.com) reports. Ramos did, however, note his surprise at how much of a stir the report created. He said on the La Deportiva:
“I do not like this kind of limelight. We did not discuss what we discussed with the intention of of causing this revolution you’re telling me is happening in Ecuador. I have the greatest respect for the players of the Ecuadorian national team. My informant has my full support and that’s why I dared to give the names, without imagining that this would create this situation.”