Sunday, January 18, 2009

PZPN head Grzegorz Lato to be replaced?

New chief of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) Grzegorz Lato may have to be replaced just three months after his election.

Stand down
On January 16n January 16, a court in Szczecin, west-northern Poland, will rule whether Lato's election last October observed all the rules of the association’s statute. If the court finds against PZPN then Lato, a former Polish international, may have to stand down as chairman. The Polish government is also thought to be discontent with Lato’s performance so far, reports the Polska daily, accusing him of being weak on corruption, the issue which led to the resignation of the old board in the first place. On January 24, the Ministry of Sport will decide whether to call an extraordinary meeting of the special electoral board, to discuss the matter.

Bad news

On news of Lato’s election three months ago, government spokesmen declared that “this is bad news for Polish football”. It was well known that the legendary Polish footballer Zbigniew Boniek was the government’s preferred candidate. The decision would have to be consulted with FIFA and UEFA, who insist that all sports associations should be completely independent of national governments.

Corruption involved
Meanwhile more evidence is emerging that the Polish FA was aware of the widespread state of corruption for some time but failed to crack down on it. It has been revealed that PZPN were tipped off about match fixing taking place at the Korona Kielce football club a few years before any arrests were made, writes Witnesses say the club’s officials were also informed about the activities of one of the coaches later accused of match fixing but they failed to act.

Hidden information
And evidence given by Edyta Mierzwa, a wife of a former Korona Kielce player, discredits Polish FA as a whole. She says that PZPN had information about incidents of corruption at the club, but simply neglected to do anything about it. Numerous coaches - including Janusz W., who trained the Polish team to a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics among them, - have been arrested alongside managers, players and officials at all levels of the game.