Friday, July 14, 2006

Polish referee arrested in football anti-corruption drive

Another Polish football referee has been arrested as the authorities lead an unrelenting campaign against corruption in the game.

Identified as Tomasz P., the first division referee was arrested at his home near Czestochowa in southern Poland on unspecified accusations, police spokesman Pawel Petrykowski was quoted by the PAP news agency as saying.

Last week, a referee was arrested in the southwestern city of Wroclaw and accused of fixing first and second division matches in exchange for bribes as high as 20,000 zlotys (5,000 euros, 7,000 dollars), or around four times the monthly minimum wage in Poland.

And last month, two referees and one of the bosses of the KSZO Ostrowiec club, in central Poland, were charged with corruption, while the head of the Gornik Zabrze club, in southern Poland, was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

The anti-corruption drive has even claimed the head of the chief of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN), Michal Listkiewicz, who has announced he will stand down in the autumn after the Polish authorities announced an audit of the accounts of Polish football's governing body, which is suspected of illegal book-keeping.

Altogether, more than 20 football players, referees and federation officials in Poland have been accused of corruption.