“We don’t need no recreation, we don’t need no sports control”. This could well be the war-cry of the Polish Football Association (PZPN). Realistically speaking, Poland’s footballing governing body has been on a slow slide ever since the fall of communism in 1989. Jerzy Domański took the helm in 1989, then legendary Poland manager Kazimierz Górski took over, followed by infamous Marian Dziurowicz’s ill-fated term of office (which coincided with a quantum leap in corruption).
The Listkiewicz Years
Since 1999 there has been one President, Michał Listkiewicz, and a record number of four caretaker/custodians who have been drafted in by the government due to legal irregularities, most recently at the beginning of October. For almost a decade this bloated, bureaucratic beast seems to have been on the verge of exploding. The post-communist corruption ‘paradise’ made it easy for players, managers, referees, club owners and PZPN officials to take part in the free-for-all bribery fest that took on gargantuan proportions in the Listkiewicz years.
Taming the Beast
Michał Listkiewicz, however, cannot be entirely blamed for the malaise now threatening to bring the PZPN down. He has simply been unable to control, shackle and tame this wild monster. Despite numerous referees, players, and even clubs being fined, imprisoned, penalised and banned, the grotesque footballing chimera that is the PZPN is still on the loose and in its current form will probably never be tamed.
The End is Nigh
The recent news that the Tax Office has filed for the PZPN’s bank accounts to be blocked due to the non-payment of over 18.5 million in taxes may be the monster’s death knell. Once the accounts are blocked and the money is cut, the PZPN well may begin to wither as its life blood is slowly sapped away. Unlike UEFA and FIFA, most of the Polish population is on the side of the government and wants football to be cleaned up. Perhaps now, bankrupt and shattered, the PZPN will finally give up the ghost and make way for people who actually want to help football in Poland.