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UEFA running out of patience with Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland

Latest update : 2008-10-04

Europe's football governing body UEFA joined its world counterpart FIFA in urging Poland to reinstate its football association, warning Polish authorities that they risked being stripped of the right to co-host Euro 2012 with Ukraine.

 

European soccer's governing body UEFA warned Poland on Friday that it risked being stripped of the right to co-host Euro 2012 if it failed to reinstate its football association by Monday.

 

"Our patience has limits and we are very close to the limit," William Gaillard, special advisor to UEFA president Michel Platini, told Reuters.

 

"We are standing firm with FIFA. If the FA is not reinstated by Monday's deadline then we will have serious discussions about the future of Euro 2012 immediately. We will not wait any longer.

 

"But 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," he added.

 

The Polish FA (PZPN) has been preparing to host UEFA's 2012 European Championship finals with neighbours Ukraine. Last week, both nations were given a reprieve after a report criticised their lack of progress in preparing to hold the event.

 

"Last Friday we gave Poland another chance and then there was this coup on Monday. It is very annoying," Gaillard said.

 

"We have done everything we can for Poland and Ukraine. We have bent over backwards to help them and this makes us very unhappy."

 
 
FIFA FIRM
 

Poland's arbitration tribunal suspended the PZPN board and named an administrator on Monday after Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki filed a motion saying it had violated the law in a number of cases.

 

World body FIFA, whose statutes forbid government intervention in football affairs, said on Wednesday Poland must reinstate the PZNP by 1000 GMT on Oct. 6 or risk being suspended from this month's two World Cup qualifying matches.

 

"We are standing firm with UEFA. Our warning and deadline still stands," a FIFA spokesman said on Friday.

 

Poland will not return to the negotiating table until FIFA withdraws its "ultimatum", sports ministry official Adam Gieresz was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency after another round of talks with the FA broke down late on Friday.

 

Poland are scheduled to play Czech Republic on Oct. 11 and Slovakia four days later in European qualifying Group Three which the team lead with four points from two games.

 

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk backed his sports minister, saying the administrator should stay in place, while administrator Robert Zawlocki said he would not step down.

 

"I will support Minister Drzewiecki in this matter," Tusk said in his first public comment on the issue during the second day of emergency talks on the issue.

 

"Sometimes a tough stand is needed and this can be costly. I am sure Minister Drzewiecki will not dismiss the administrator," Tusk told reporters.

 

"Polish soccer cannot be healed (with such a dismissal). And why do we need qualifiers that we will lose anyway if Polish football doesn't change?"

 

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.

 

Local commentators say Listkiewicz, widely seen as a close friend of UEFA President Michel Platini, will probably resist any such attempts this time round as well.

Date created : 2008-10-04

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