Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sports Minister calls football association “con artists”

Sports Minister has accused the Polish Football Association (PZPN) of deceiving the nation and called the present situation ‘a scandal’.

Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki, who commented on the postponement of PZPN’s general meeting until October on Polish Radio Three Thursday morning, said there was a group of con artists operating within PZPN who deceived Polish football fans.

Minister Drzewiecki said he was ashamed of the management of PZPN and pointed out that the amendment to the Football Association’s Statute changing the date of the general meeting was made on July 28, just before the decision was formally made public.

Miroslaw Drzewiecki called “scandalous” the situation when the first league’s matches are postponed for two weeks and it is not yet clear which teams will be allowed to participate.

He added that if the current PZPN Chairman Michal Listkiewicz - who had promised to step down following accusations of turning a blind eye to the rampant corruption in Polish football and the procedure of setting up match results for bribes - insisted on remaining in his position for another term he would refuse to cooperate with him.

The minister warned that the Polish Olympic Committee had the power to take over the association by appointing a curator at PZPN.

Minister Drzewiecki stressed that it was the government’s strong intention to completely rid Polish football of corruption.

In July this year, the Sports Minister suggested to the PZPN Chairman Michal Listkiewicz he resign due to the corruption scandals that shook the Polish football scene last year. Listkiewicz then promised he would step down by September 14. Recently, however, PZPN Chairman announced that he was considering staying in the job, because UEFA wanted so.