I keep catching news snippets about the spat going on between FIFA, UEFA and PZPN (the Polish football association) but none of it makes any sense.
As I understand it:
- Polish football is corrupt and everybody knows it.
- The Polish football association has, for a very long time, been doing nothing to address the issue.
- The Polish government is sick and tired of the nation’s football association being the laughing stock of European football. The Prime Minister is a football fan, apparently.
- Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki filed a motion saying that the PZPN had violated the law in a number of cases. On Sept 29th. Poland’s arbitration tribunal suspended the PZPN board and named Robert Zawlocki as administrator.
- FIFA and UEFA have issued join threats to disqualify Poland from forthcoming World Cup qualifying matches and also to stop Poland co-hosting Euro 2012 championships if the PZPN board, chaired by Michał Listkiewicz, is not reinstated by sometime TODAY. “The rules are clear. We offered Euro 2012 to the FA, not the government. So if the FA are not in place or suspended then they are not in a position to host the tournament.”
- The story is that FIFA and UEFA statutes do not allow for government interference in the sport. Another story is that Michel Platini, UEFA President, is a close friend of Listkiewicz.
- Neither side seems to be close to changing their position today.
It really seems like quite a bizarre situation leading to various, possibly incorrect conclusions like;
- FIFA & UEFA support corruption in football.
- Michel Platini looks after his friends more than he cares about the state of football in Poland.
- The Polish government don’t care whether they host Euro 2012 or not.
- Or perhaps, the Polish government know they will never be ready to host Euro 2012 and this seems like a great way to get out of it and fix another problem at the same time?
The Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, stated
“And why do we need qualifiers that we will lose anyway if Polish football doesn’t change? And why do we need clubs that would lose anyway? And why do we need stadiums which are dangerous to be in? This cannot be the way.”
“I will support the Minister of Sport, Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki in his tough stand with this situation involving PZPN. I think it’s high time to risk. Sometimes a tough stand is needed and this can be costly. I say this also as a football lover.”
I have to say that on the basis of the limited information I have before me, I agree with him. What I can’t understand is why the two parties (Polish government & FIFA/UEFA) can’t get together and find a way of removing corruption from Polish football at the same time as satisfying UEFA rules about government interference? After all, someone has to step in and deal with PZPN and if not the government, then who?? Certainly not UEFA or FIFA I imagine.
UPDATE – 16:00 Monday – I notice that the news headlines have very recently changed into “Poland settle dispute with Fifa”. It seems that a ‘roadmap’ (a term I hate!) has been drawn following discussions between the Polish FA, the Polish government, Fifa and Uefa that lays out the steps that should be taken before elections take place at the Polish FA. Not really clear what this means. Who has actually won this fight?