Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Poland's top football league season postponed in wake of match-fixing scandal

The first round of Poland's top football league has been postponed due to the fallout of a match-fixing scandal.

The governing board of Poland's premier league has pushed back the start of the season after a disputed ruling by the country's highest sports arbitration court that could result in two more teams being added to the league.

Earlier this year, the Polish Football Federation relegated Widzew Lodz to the second tier after it was found guilty of match fixing.

On Wednesday, the Polish Olympic Committee's arbitration court ruled that the punishment was too severe and that the statute of limitations had expired on the offence.

That ruling has opened the door for Korona Kielce and Zaglebie Lubin, which the federation also relegated to the second tier for match-fixing, to appeal their demotion and seek reinstatement.

"The situation is unclear to the point that after the start of the season we could have to add two teams, as could happen after the tribunal's decision," league spokesman Adrian Skubis said Friday. "This forced us to delay the start of the season."

League officials hope the arbitration court will make a final decision next week. That would allow the season to open next weekend, Skubis said, with the postponed first-round games to be played in late October.