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Feb 13, 2012

Cologne to punish outspoken Podolski

Cologne have hit back at Lukas Podolski after the striker claimed, via the German media, that the Bundesliga side had reneged on promises made to him.

• Podolski ready to move abroad

Speaking to Bild am Sonntag, Podolski criticised his home-town club, saying: "I was told that a team would be built around me so that we could establish ourselves first in the top eight and then in the top six.

"[Former Cologne coach] Christoph Daum once said that lots of promises are made, but few are maintained here and I think my situation confirms that."

Cologne general manager Claus Horstmann says Podolski, who missed Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Hamburg, will be fined for his unauthorised comments.

"Of course such a high-profile player has every right to speak out publicly, but we are surprised about the timing and the content of an interview on the day in which we had a very important game against Hamburg,'' he said.

"The interview had not been agreed with us, nor had we authorised its publication.

"It has been released by Lukas' personal management and our recommendations have not been followed. He has therefore knowingly broken rules set down in his contract.

"Remarks about the club must always be authorised by the club. There is no place in the world for a player, who is injured, who is not in the squad and who is always demanding calm, to give such an interview.''

Horstmann said making an example of Podolski would help the club crack down on the negative press that has plagued their season.

"We have decided as a club not to tolerate this kind of interview but rather to sanction them,'' he said. "We will certainly make use of the freedoms we have in his contract of employment to clear things up and make it clear to everybody that even Lukas Podolski must respect the rules.

"It is not the first time that such a situation has arisen. We have got to make it clear what rights and duties the players have and that Lukas must respect them - they apply to every player.''

However, Horstmann says Podolski will not be forced out of the club. His contract expires in 2013 and talks are due to commence soon over an extension.

"Our position and our priority to extend his contract as soon as possible remains unaltered,'' said Horstmann.

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