Polish FA suspended over corruption issues

WARSAW Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:59am BST

A view of the Tenth Anniversary stadium in Warsaw is seen in this May 2004 file photo. Poland and Ukraine was chosen on April 18, 2007 to co-host the European Championship soccer tournament in 2012. REUTERS/Katarina Stoltz

A view of the Tenth Anniversary stadium in Warsaw is seen in this May 2004 file photo. Poland and Ukraine was chosen on April 18, 2007 to co-host the European Championship soccer tournament in 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Katarina Stoltz

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WARSAW (Reuters) - The management board of the Polish Football Association, which is responsible for co-hosting the European Championship in 2012, was suspended by Poland's sports ministry on Monday.

"The Arbitration Tribunal, upon the request of the sports minister, decided on Monday to name Robert Zawlocki as an administrator at the Polish football association and suspend its management," the Polish FA said on its website (www.pzpn.pl).

The national news agency PAP said the decision was taken after the FA failed to take adequate steps to address corruption issues.

Neither the sports minister's office nor the Polish Olympic Committee could be reached for confirmation or comment.

PAP said Zawlocki sent a letter to UEFA president Michel Platini, reassuring him that organisation of Euro 2012 would not be affected by the move.

Poland and fellow hosts Ukraine were warned by European soccer's governing body on Friday to speed up their preparations or risk losing the right to host the tournament in four years time.

VERY SERIOUS

"We have not yet been informed officially nor received this letter," Platini's special advisor William Gaillard told Reuters.

"But we are concerned and take this matter very seriously. We will be discussing the matter with FIFA in the coming hours."

A spokesman for football's world governing body said FIFA was "investigating the reports" and would make a statement on Tuesday.

FIFA rules do not allow government interference in the running of their associations. Poland was warned last year it risked suspension after the government appointed a commissioner as head of the FA in an anti-corruption drive.

Monday's move in Warsaw came after the sports ministry conducted an audit of the association and found irregularities in its functioning, sports minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki was quoted by PAP as saying.

He added the FA did not take adequate steps to address corruption issues.

"After the control I filed a motion with the Arbitration Tribunal (connected to Poland's Olympic Committee) to suspend the association's authorities and name an administrator," Drzewiecki said.

Drzewiecki downplayed concerns that the move would have a negative impact on Poland's preparations to host the European Championship finals in 2012 jointly with neighbours Ukraine.

Poland and Ukraine were given a reprieve last week by UEFA's executive committee after a progress report on their preparations showed both nations are still struggling to tackle the colossal tasks of upgrading stadiums and modernising airports, rail and road networks and hotels.

(Additional reporting by Darren Ennis in Brussels, editing by Rex Gowar and Mike Collett)

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