Soccer

Soccer Player Benni McCarthy Fined $300,000 for Being Fat

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Perhaps former South African soccer player Benni McCarthy should consider switching sports before he runs out of options and money. The 33-year-old striker, who plays for West Ham in the English Premier League, was dropped from the London club’s 25-man roster recently because of fitness issues. This means he can only play in FA Cup games for the team, not any league matches.

McCarthy was dropped by manager Avram Grant after the transfer window ended at the end of January because Grant said he’s too slow to compete in the league. But he wasn’t on the club’s original squad list in August because Grant and club owners said he was simply too fat.

McCarthy joined the team in January of 2010 and has only managed to play a total of 326 minutes for it, which is less than four full games. His salary of 38,000 British pounds (U.S. $61,050) a week isn’t anywhere near what the top earners in the league make, but it’s apparently a burden for West Ham and they feel McCarthy’s draining funds while not being in shape to play for them.

However, West Ham tried to recoup some of those lost wages by fining the fat forward a total of 200,000 pounds ($320,000) since the season started. McCarthy weighed in at training camp at 209 lbs. and was ordered to get down to 186 lbs. He was fined a week’s wages for each week he was above 186. It’s believed he finally shed the pounds about five weeks later. His body fat was about 24 per cent at the end of last season and was down to 16 per cent when this season kicked off, but the team wanted him to get it down to between five and 12 per cent.

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West Ham came close to unloading McCarthy to Championship club Queens Park Rangers during the transfer window, but couldn’t close the deal even though he scored in a tryout team for them. It was believed that a few teams in the Middle East were also interested, but nothing materialized. West Ham is stuck with McCarthy’s pay check each week and even though he’s won the battle of the bulge and trimmed down, Grant cited his lack of speed as his downfall.

West Ham also tried to buy the player’s contract out by offering him a million pounds ($1.6 million), but McCarthy’s got 18 more months to go on it and is owed another 2.7 million pounds ($4,336,000), so he told them to get lost. But his agent said now that he’s fit again and at the right weight, he wants to play, not sit around and get fat by just collecting his pay check.