Saturday, April 19, 2008

Polish soccer board to resign in September in face of corruption scandal

The Polish soccer federation's governing board will resign in September because of a game-fixing scandal that has caused a public outcry.

Prosecutors in Wroclaw began investigating in 2005. Authorities have charged 117 people — including federation members, coaches, referees, players and club officials — with rigging matches in the top domestic leagues. Twenty-nine clubs have been implicated.

"We want to save this federation and we want to save Polish soccer," said Michal Listkiewicz, president of the soccer federation.

The scandal has cast a shadow over the country's upcoming debut at the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland, as well as its preparations to co-host the 2012 tournament with Ukraine.

Listkiewicz promised that current board members will "do everything" to ensure the scandal doesn't harm the tournaments.

Listkiewicz said Sunday the board will step down Sept. 14, three months before the end of its term. Listkiewicz has headed the body since 1999 and says he will not run again for president. He said the federation decided to appoint a "completely independent" sports prosecutor to fight soccer corruption.