Polish FA president to stay on despite Euro exit
The president of the Polish Football Association will not step down despite Poland's failure to reach its minimum goal of advancing to the European Championship quarterfinals.
Grzegorz Lato has come under pressure following the Euro 2012 co-host's last-place finish in Group A. Poland drew its first two matches with Greece and Russia before losing to the Czech Republic 1-0 Saturday to be knocked out of the tournament.
Lato said Tuesday that elections for the association's leadership are scheduled for the end of October and that he sees no reason to resign now. He said he'll decided whether to run for another term before July 5.
''We as the federation did everything in our power so that the national team could prepare well for the tournament. None of our national teams in the past have enjoyed the conditions, which everyone saw, the fantastic conditions that we arranged for them,'' Lato said. ''I see no reason to resign because Poland was knocked out.''
Following the team's elimination, Poland coach Franciszek Smuda said his contract would expire after the tournament and he would not stay.
Lato confirmed that, saying Smuda's contract runs through Aug. 31 and will not be extended.
''A different coach will be in charge for the next matches,'' Lato said. ''The federation has already received various proposals about the coaching position, from around the world, including Europe and even Brazil.''
Poland will open its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign on Sept. 7 at Montenegro, which puts a definite timeframe on hiring Smuda's replacement. With that in mind, Lato said the federation would make a ''quick but reasonable'' decision on a new coach.
The FA president also sought to defuse a spat with national team captain Jakub Blaszczykowski, who after the loss to the Czech Republic complained that the players didn't know until right before the match whether they would have tickets for their families or not.
''It can't be that before every match, we have to ask the president whether or not our families can come to the match or not, whether we'll have tickets for them or not,'' Blaszczykowski said then. ''The president says in an interview that he has a great relationship with the team. Personally, I haven't noticed that.''
Lato dismissed Blaszczykowski's remarks on Tuesday, saying that each player received ''on average between eight and 10 tickets per match.''
''I'm not mad at him because I understand that he was speaking when he was upset directly after having lost a match,'' Lato said.