Poland set to remain Euro 2012 co-hosts
After 11th-hour deal
Poland seem set to remain co-hosts of the 2012 European Championships after the country`s embattled Football Association (PZPN) reached a last-ditch agreement with the Polish government, Guardian reported. The PZPN management board was suspended by the government amid corruption allegations, with the running of football in the country placed in the hands of an administrator, leading to fears of a Fifa suspension and the appointment of a new host for Euro 2012.
Fifa gave the Polish government until 11am BST today to reinstate the PZPN board, warning that Poland would be suspended from Fifa and forced to forfeit their forthcoming World Cup 2010 qualifiers. Uefa added that a Fifa suspension could see the country stripped of the right to hold the 2012 tournament, which Poland are due to co-host with Ukraine.
An 11th-hour deal between the Polish FA and government appears to have been struck, however. "We have reached an agreement with the government," said the PZPN president Michal Listkiewicz. "I can`t say anything more because we have to wait on Fifa`s reaction." The Fifa president Sepp Blatter cautiously welcomed the news, saying Fifa would not impose any sanctions on Poland if the agreement comes into force tomorrow.
Michal Kleiber, the head of the four-man group set up to help organise elections for a new PZPN board, was less unequivocal, saying an agreement was close, though not certain to be carried through. "A certain consensus has been reached," he said. "The chance for it to be implemented I put at 90%."
Uefa has not minced its words over the issue. "The feeling really is that they are thinking that we are all fools," said the Uefa spokesman William Gaillard earlier today. "It`s extremely difficult to organise the Euros in Poland and Ukraine. If we made them stick to the commitments they signed in April 2007, they would be in trouble, terrible trouble, already. We`ve done absolutely everything and more to make sure they can organise it, and the first thing they do is deceive our trust and go back on a commitment they made a year and a half ago to Fifa."
Poland face the Czech Republic on October 11 and then Slovakia on October 15. If they fail to satisfy Fifa, 3-0 victories will be awarded to their opponents, seriously denting Poland`s qualification hopes.