Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Poland seeks refereeing help over corruption probe

Miroslaw Drzewiecki
Polish football is considering using referees from Germany and the Czech Republic amid a corruption investigation which is leading to a shortage of match officials, it was reported Friday.

Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki said referees from the two neighbouring countries could be considered to help out in the Ekstraklasa, the country's top league, the Polish press agency PAP reported.

"We must be aware that if need arises, we will have to sign temporary agreements with the Germans, with the Czechs," Drzewiecki told a news conference after visiting Slask Stadium, which is being overhauled for the 2012 European Championship.

"If we are not able to have a sufficient number of our own referees, we will have to borrow them from abroad."

The number of referees now officiating at matches in the league this season has fallen from 21 to 15. The Polish football federation PZPN requires at least 18 referees to run its league programme.

Anti-corruption officials arrested two referees on Thursday in the investigation into corrupt practices in Polish football.

The Polish Football Federation said the decision on hiring foreign referees "does not belong to Drzewiecki" but to it and the referees' association. However, spokesman Andrzej Strejlau said using officials from lower domestic leagues is a possibility.