Polish FA to receive millions for qualifying for 2022 World Cup
Poland has qualified for the World Cup in Qatar. It's not only a great success in terms of football, but also a financial boost. "We will receive 10 million dollars from FIFA, plus additional two for preparations to the tournament," Poland's Football Association (PZPN) Secretary General Łukasz Wachowski told eurosport.pl. And that's not even all.
Poland's path to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar led through qualification play-offs, as the team finished second in their group behind England. The scheduled semi-final against Russia did not take place because of this country's invasion into Ukraine. Poland automatically advanced to the final game against Sweden, whom they beat 2:0 on Tuesday in Chorzów.
In recent years, Robert Lewandowski and his teammates have been taking part in big tournaments on a regular basis. It's the fourth consecutive event they have qualified for. Apart from sport achievements, each success usually meant a lump sum for PZPN.
"We will receive 10 million dollars from FIFA, plus additional two for preparations to the tournament," Poland's Football Association Secretary General Łukasz Wachowski told eurosport.pl.
12 million dollars is approx. 51.5 million zlotys. A huge cash influx.
"Finances are one thing, but the crucial issue is the sport achievement itself. Cash influx is obviously huge, but let's not forget we have to pay for the training camp ahead of the tournament and during its course. Add the cost of logistics which are always high at such big events. And then you have bonuses for the players and the coaching staff," Wachowski added.
He did not want to discuss the bonuses in detail, but it's been already revealed that the players agreed to get bonuses for qualifying, and for single games. According to unofficial information, they will have approx. 10 million zlotys to split between themselves, depending on the time spent on the pitch. The same system was used on previous occasions when Poland was advancing to major tournaments.
Apart from the bonus from FIFA, PZPN can count on additional money from the sponsors. The contracts are classified, so Wachowski wouldn't comment on them. "The federation budget is 300 million zloty annualy. All bonuses aren't enough to keep us free from worry for many years. But certainly qualifying for such a great tournament changes the climate around football, which is beneficial both for us, and our partners. And that's the crucial value," Wachowski said.
Poland will find out their group rivals after the draw on Friday. The World Cup is scheduled to begin on November 21, and the final game is to played on December 18.
"The most difficult penalty"
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski said his penalty in their 2-0 playoff victory over Sweden on Tuesday was one of the most difficult of his career as World Cup qualification was on the line.
Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski and Napoli midfielder Piotr Zieliński fired second-half goals as Poland beat Sweden in a competitive fixture for the first time since the 1974 World Cup to book a spot at the event in Qatar.
"I said during the news conference that it was time (for us) to win and that we'd do it. So we did," Lewandowski joked while speaking to Polish TV.
"It was one of, if not the most difficult penalty in my life ... (I knew) the weight of those seconds before I ran up to the ball.
"Of course I wanted to focus on execution, but I was realising what was at stake in this game, what was at stake in that penalty. It was one of the emotionally tougher penalties of my career, definitely."
Poland, who battled to contain an attacking Sweden side in the first half, were also indebted to Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny who pulled off a string of fine saves.
"We came out for the second half with some nice energy and (that's when) I started to believe that we could win this match," Szczęsny said.
"The Swedes gifted us both goals a little bit. A penalty out of nothing, then they lost the ball. But you have to take advantage of such situations.
"The margin for error in such matches is very small, and today they allowed themselves two mistakes and paid for them."
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters, eurosport.pl
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: eurosport