Changes in store in Polish football after World Cup disappointment

07-07-2006

Despite Poland's early knock-out from the Word Cup in Germany football remains in the limelight in Poland, the reasons being arrests of football officials on corruption charges, tax inspections in the National Football Federation and continuous speculations over the sacking of coach Pawel Janas. Michal Zajac reports from Warsaw.

Poland started the World Cup with a surprise loss to Ecuador, to complete it with a victory over Costa Rica and failure to proceed to the second round, which had been the minimum plan before the tournament. But it seems that the defeat in Germany may paradoxically restore Polish football to health. The Ministry of Sport, prosecutors and the tax authority have launched an investigation into the operation of the Football Federation on corruption charges. Sports commentator and Senator, Andrzej Person, argues that much more is needed to visibly improve the condition of Polish football.

"Football fields, stadiums are one of the main reasons behaind the poor condition of Polish football. It's very difficult to find a new Ronaldinho or Maradona, our young generation have no model of career in sport. We need good examples like Fibak in tennis in the 1970s. It's no method to change the national coach or president of Football Federation. Of course, if it is about corruption I am the first to fight against it. But we need to switch to professionalism in football, which will eliminate corruption."

The President of the Polish Football Federation Michal Listkiewicz recently responded to criticism on the unsuccessful performance in Germany by saying that he still deserves a monument for his contribution to Polish football. Now he seems to be losing his self-confidence. He apologized for this statement and declared he was ready to shorten his term.

"The inspections are being carried out in accordance with the law and respective procedures. We selected people to assist the inspectors. I have cancelled my trips to be around at the time of the inspections."

Fans are now demanding not just the dismissal of national team coach Pawel Janas. A public opinion poll shows that they put the blame for the disastrous performance at the World Cup equally on the coach, football authorities and the players. Joachim is a football fan.

'The situation is very bad. Many people blame the coach for the failure of the Polish team but many people also see the in the Football Federation the main reason of this failure. And it's true. The Federation has such specific relations within its structures that it's difficult to find a new coach, for example from abroad, because he wouldn't be able to work in these conditions.'

No matter in what direction the changes in Polish football go, one thing is certain. Fans will quickly forget the 2006 World Cup disappointment and their hope for the Polish team's success will be re-born again the moment Poland enters Euro 2008 qualification games this autumn.

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