Euro 2016

Euro 2016: Albania heroes given $1M bonus and diplomatic passports

Story highlights

Albanian government rewards football team

First win at major international tournament

Players and staff given diplomatic passports

Prime minister Edi Rama also hails fans

CNN  — 

Albania’s footballers have already made history at Euro 2016 – and their achievement will be recognized by the country’s government both financially and symbolically.

Prime Minister Edi Rama told CNN in an exclusive interview that the players had been “the best ambassadors” for the country and deserved the reward – a seven-figure bonus and diplomatic passports – after their heroics at the European Championship finals in France.

Less than 24 hours after the country’s first victory at a major international tournament – a 1-0 win over Romania – he says the Albanian government has gifted €1 million ($1.13 million) to the nation’s football federation.

Yet it is the awarding of the passports, he says, which shows the real magnitude of the team’s achievement.

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“The giving of the diplomatic passports is the most heartfelt and symbolic,” Rama told CNN in a telephone interview late Monday. “Ambassadors have these passports and they are like ambassadors because of how they’ve represented our country.

“In terms of the team, they have made the most outstanding case of playing football in Europe and Albania.”