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Poland risk FIFA suspension

  Poland risk suspension by FIFA from all football competitions, and the loss of co-hosting rights for Euro 2012, unless they reinstate the country’s Football Association Monday.


A stand-off continued over the weekend between the game’s world governing body and the Polish government as the clock ticked down to Monday’s 11 a.m. British time deadline to reverse Warsaw’s decision to replace its FA with an administrator last week. “The deadline stands. Time is running out, but Poland know what they have to do to solve the situation,” a FIFA spokesman said.

Poland’s arbitration tribunal suspended the PZPN (FA) board and named an administrator last Monday after Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki filed a motion saying it had violated the law in a number of cases. FIFA, whose rules forbid government interference, said Warsaw must reinstate the FA or risk being suspended from this month’s two World Cup qualifying matches. UEFA warned any suspension could lead to Poland being stripped of the right to co-host Euro 2012 alongside Ukraine.

William Gaillard, special advisor to UEFA president Michel Platini, told Reuters his organization “is fully behind FIFA.” “This is about the fundamental principles of our sport. We cannot allow sports administrators to be replaced the following day by politicians at the whim of a government,” Gaillard said. “FIFA are taking the lead in this. But we will react very quickly to any fallout which may have consequences for us, notably Euro 2012.”

Poland are scheduled to play Czech Republic on October 11 and Slovakia four days later in European qualifying Group Three which the team lead with four points from two games. Failure to meet Monday’s deadline could force them to forfeit the matches and their opponents awarded 3-0 victories.

With both sides standing firm, Polish President Lech Kaczynski offered to step in and mediate in the ongoing row. “The president is willing to mediate between the conflicted parties. The president had already once in the past mediated in a conflict between the PZPN and the government and is willing to do so again,” Kaczynski’s aide Michal Kaminski told Radio Zet. The president mediated in a similar row between the FA and the previous conservative government of Law and Justice, led by his twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski. In the end, under FIFA pressure, the previous government reinstated the association.

Corruption accusations have often been raised against the PZPN and its head, Michal Listkiewicz, but a succession of sports ministers, including Drzewiecki, have failed to oust him. (Reuters)