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By ESPN Staff

Polish clubs demoted in corruption investigation

WARSAW, April 12 (Reuters) - Two Polish first division clubs have been relegated to lower leagues as part of an investigation into allegations of bribery and match-fixing, the Polish Football Association (PZPN) said on Thursday.

Arka Gdynia will start next season in the second division and must pay a 200,000 zlotys ($70,200) fine, while Gornik Leczna have been demoted to the third division and fined 270,000 zlotys, PZPN said in a statement.

'It's an unprecedented penalty in the history of Polish football,' Michal Tomczak, head of the PZPN disciplinary department, told Reuters.

'Considering the scale of the problem it sends a signal that match-fixing will not be tolerated.'

In January, Polish sports minister Tomasz Lipiec suspended the PZPN's board of administration amid a corruption scandal in which more than 70 officials were implicated.

But he reinstated the board in March after world soccer's governing body FIFA threatened to ban the national team and Polish clubs from international competition.

The decision to relegate the two clubs comes less than a week before UEFA, European soccer's governing body, picks the host of the 2012 European football championship, where Poland and Ukraine's joint bid is among the final three.