Reports in the media have emerged that Neymar, who is apparently of a strong Christian persuasion, is contractually bound by his team to stay away “religious or political propaganda”.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo claims this is one of the terms embedded in the Brazilian star player’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain with the report further claiming that if he abides by the so-called ‘ethical clause’, he will receive an additional £461,947 gross per month on top of his usual pay – amounting to about £5.5m extra a year.
Neymar is allegedly a committed Christian who has been known in the past to make the cross sign on the pitch, besides having worn a ‘100% Jesus’ headband. The Brazilian has also often spoken openly with fervor about his Christian faith on social media.
The ethical clause in the player’s PSG contract requires him to refrain from “political or religious propaganda that could damage the image and unity of the club”, besides also insisting that he be “courteous, punctual, friendly and available to fans,” and that he demonstrate “exemplary behaviour, especially in the field.”
Apparently it won’t be the first time that Neymar – who also plays for the national Brazilian team – has been asked to tone down on his expressions of religious fervor as the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) banned the national team from religious celebrations in 2018. The Paris Saint-Germain star and his fellow Christian team-mates Kaká and Lucio were proudly doing their well-known demonstrations of religious faith during matches and wearing T-shirts with Christian slogans like ‘I belong to Jesus’ under their official shirts.
Accordingly, their fervent displays of faith prompted football’s governing body FIFA to send a warning letter to the Brazilian football federation back in 2009 “to remind them of the relevant regulations, so that such incidents do not recur in the future”.
Kudos to Neymar and the boys for their perseverance in unashamedly and publicly acknowledging the sacrosanctity of something infinitely much larger than themselves and football in particular – regardless of whichever religious persuasion it may be.
Their open profession of their faith in joyful expression and declaration in celebration is something every footballer has a right to share without shame or fear.