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Red card for PZPN

22nd January 2007
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The government has suspended PZPN after further corruption allegations surfaced.

PZPN president Micha│ Listkiewicz has gotten the boot

The Polish Football Association (PZPN) has been suspended after another high-ranking official was detained in a match-fixing investigation that stretches back almost two years.


Prosecutors in Wroc│aw detained Wit »elazko, a PZPN board member responsible for referees. Sports Minister Tomasz Lipiec then demanded that the 35-member board resign. The board refused to resign, but agreed to organize an earlier presidential election on March 31. "I passed Minister Lipiec's request to the board. The board decided that a faster and more effective way would be a quicker general assembly," said PZPN's president, Micha│ Listkiewicz, adding that he won't run for the position again.


Lipiec decided to act sooner, and he has appointed Andrzej Rusko, the chief executive of Poland's top league, as emergency administrator until a new board can be elected.


"There are those who support change in the association and those who do not, but my only legal option was to suspend all of them," Lipiec said.


Polish football has been struggling with corruption scandals since August 2005, when the president of GKS Katowice football club, Piotr Dziurowicz, claimed league matches were regularly fixed. An investigation by the Wroc│aw Prosecutor's Office led to the apprehension of 64 football officials, most of them referees.


One of the arrested is Ryszard F, known as 'Fryzjer' (The Barber), who is accused of heading a criminal organization that specialized in fixing professional football games through his contacts in refereeing circles. 


Association officials have said the suspension of the board could lead to world soccer's governing body FIFA suspending Poland from international competition and harm its joint bid with Ukraine to host the 2012 European Championship. (Reuters)


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