Bolivian club signs president Evo Morales to professional contract
MAY 18, 2014 3:55p ET
A Bolivian first-division soccer club has come up with a great marketing ploy: The Sports Boys team says it has signed on the country's president, Evo Morales, to suit up and play about 20-30 minutes per match.
Morales is an avid soccer player, frequently sparring with journalists, union leaders, diplomats and even other presidents on the field.
The president has not yet commented on the new gig, in which Sports Boys says he is to receive the minimum wage, or $213.
The 55-year-old president's most famous soccer match, in 2007, was played on Bolivia's highest peak to protest a ban on high-altitude game imposed by international soccer's governing body, FIFA.
Sports Boys' president, Mario Cronenbol, announced the deal Friday. The club ranks ninth among 12 teams in the standings with the league in playoffs.
"He loves soccer and he plays well," Cronenbold told Reuters. "As I told the president, jokingly, we are not putting the president of Uruguay on the field," Cronenbold added, referring to Uruguay's 78-year-old president José Mujica. "We are contracting a person who is in very good shape and who lives soccer."
Morales will wear the No. 10 jersey for the Sport Boys team, which is based in the south-eastern province of Santa Cruz in Bolivia which earned promotion to Division One team in 2013.
Early opinion polls suggest that Morales is favored to win re-election for a second time later this year. The leftist leader is expected to make his debut for Sports Boys in August.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.