Polish FA boss Lato refuses to bow out


The embattled head of Poland’s PZPN football association, Grzegorz Lato, on Thursday said that he would not give in to pressure to quit and instead planned to run for a new term in charge.
The 62-year-old former star striker denied that he had ever pledged to step down if co-hosts Poland failed to make it to the knock-out round of the Euro 2012.
“I never said I’d resign. I stressed repeatedly that I would make my decision after the end of the European championship,” Lato said in a press release.
“The championship is over, and we were very highly rated by UEFA president Michel Platini. We can all be proud of how this tournament was organised in Poland.”
Lato has long been under fire in Poland for alleged corruption at the PZPN, as well as doing too little to foster the development of young players, though he rejects such claims.
The pressure mounted after Poland’s showing at Euro 2012, when they crashed out in the group stage after draws with Greece and Russia and a defeat by the Czech Republic.
On Tuesday, Sports Minister Joanna Mucha said it was time for a major shake-up.
“I’m simply demanding, or rather calling on, the PZPN to ring the changes. Because change is needed. Change will benefit Polish football, the organisation and all of us,” said Mucha, 36.
Many Poland fans had high hopes that Euro 2012 would help revive the nation’s long-lost glory days of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Lato symbolises that golden age, having been top scorer at the 1974 World Cup, where Poland came third.
Lato insisted that match-day failings should not detract from the widely-praised tournament, which ran from June 8 to July 1 and was organised with neighbouring Ukraine.
“All that was lacking were results on the pitch, and it’s through that prism that many people want to judge my work,” he said, adding that he was convinced Poland would qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Lato, who earlier this year defused a coup attempt within the PZPN, said he would run in its October leadership election.
“Maintaining continuity will have a good influence on the PZPN,” he insisted.