Polish chief to seek re-election
Polish football association (PZPN) head Grzegorz Lato said on Thursday he would run for re-election, despite an earlier pledge to resign if Poland did not advance to the Uefa Euro 2012™ quarterfinals.
Lato denied that he had promised to quit his post if Poland, co-hosts of the championships, did not advance. The team went out in the group stage.
"I never said that I would resign. I said many times, however, that I would make the final decision after the Euro 2012 finals," Lato said in a statement.
Lato had told sports daily Przeglad Sportowy in a November interview that he would not run in the October 26 elections if Poland didn't make it past the group phase. He later said he had been misquoted, but the daily defended its story.
"I decided to run because I think that keeping continuity will be good for PZPN," Lato said in the statement. "I know, however, that many things require an immediate improvement. I know the environment and I know what must be done for things in football to get better."
Calls for Lato's resignation got louder among critics who accuse PZPN of being involved in corruption and failure to produce young football talent.
Sports Minister Joanna Mucha has said she would take Lato for his word when he pledged in the daily to resign, while Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said last month that Lato would resign "if he had a little honour."
Lato, who was accused in November of taking part in a corrupt land deal, is deeply unpopular among football fans. Fans had yelled vulgar chants against PZPN after a June 16 match against the Czechs, which Poland lost 1-0 and ruined their quarterfinal chances.
Lato said he did "everything" to get the Polish national team ready for the prestigious tournament, and that he believed the team could "fight to advance to the finals of the World Cup."
The team disappointed many who thought it had played in a "dream group" of teams considered fair competition.