Polish FA officials suspended in corruption row
WARSAW, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Poland suspended the leadership of its national football association on Friday after another high-ranking official was detained in a match-fixinginvestigation that stretches back almost two years.
Prosecutors in the southern city of Wroclaw detained Wit Zelasko, FA board member responsible for referees and a well-known TV personality, bringing the total number accused in the scandal to about 60.
After the board refused to resign, Sports Minister Tomasz Lipiec said he had appointed Andrzej Rusko, chief executive of Poland's top flight, as emergency administrator until a new board could be elected.
'There are those who support change in the association and those who do not, but my only legal option was to suspend all of them,' Lipiec said, citing the results of an administrative investigation into the association's activities.
The Polish Football Association (PZPN) has been under fire since the middle of 2005, when prosecutors began an investigation into match-fixing that has now implicated dozens of referees, club and association officials.
Association officials have said the suspension of the board could lead to world soccer's governing body FIFA suspending Poland from international competition and harm its joint bid with Ukraine to host the 2012 European Championship.
A FIFA spokesman said: 'We are in contact with the Polish FA and aware of the issues there. We are analysing the situation and there are no further comments for the time being'.
On Friday, members of the 35-strong FA board said they would fight Lipiec's decision.
'He (Lipiec) can't just turn up today, put a pistol against my head and tell me I have to admit to my guilt for something I did not do,' said Grzegorz Lato, top scorer at the 1974 World Cup when the Poles came third.
'We still have an appeal procedure and we will follow it.'