Thu, Oct 25, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Polish minister of sports resigns after stadium roof fiasco

AFP, WARSAW

Polish Sports Minister Joanna Mucha has tendered her resignation, Polish government spokesman Pawel Gras said on Tuesday, amid a row over the Polish soccer team’s rain-postponed 2014 World Cup qualifier against England.

Gras underlined that the decision came ahead of yesterday’s widely anticipated report on an official inspection of operations at Poland’s National Sports Center, a division of the ministry.

The center runs the Kazimierz Gorski Stadium, a state-of-the-art arena in the heart of Warsaw.

On Tuesday last week, it was to host one of the highest-profile matches in Poland’s drive to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

However, the game was called off when the referee ruled that torrential rain had made the pitch unplayable and shifted to the following day, when Poland and England drew 1-1.

Fans, pundits and the government have questioned why the stadium’s retractable roof was not closed before the match.

The Polish Football Association and stadium authorities have been trading blame, while critics also claim match observers from world soccer’s governing body FIFA failed to do their job.

Former academic economist Mucha was seen as a new broom in the male-dominated world of Polish sport.

While that ruffled traditionalists’ feathers, she also became known for a series of faux pas.

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