PM Morawiecki: no state cash for bonuses for national football team
"The question of financing has been a problem of Polish football for years," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on social media on Tuesday (December 6). He added, however, that "there will be no government funds for bonuses for football players". Earlier that day, Morawiecki argued that "our players deserve some kind of bonus". Furthermore, in his view, a success like reaching World Cup last 16 "is worth every penny". Government spokesperson Piotr Muller also commented on the question of bonuses for national team players.
Wirtualna Polska reported on Monday that, ahead of Poland's national team departure for the World Cup in Qatar, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had personally met with the players and promised them that should they qualify for the knock-out stage, the team would receive a bonus worth at least 30 million zlotys. In a video from the PM's meeting with the team, published at Lączy nas Piłka portal, Morawiecki can be heard saying: "I believe in you. You are certainly going to give your best. And, together with the coach here, we will make sure - if we can - that there is a really very good reward".
Morawiecki: there will be no government funds for bonuses for football players
On Tuesday afternoon, PM Morawiecki published a post on Facebook in which he said that "we were defeated in the World Cup knock-out stage, but we did play a good game against the current champions - France". "What did we lack? Mainly experience of playing at this level and a bit of luck. However, our team gave us more that we could expect" - he added.
In his opinion, "the question of financing has been a problem of Polish football for years". "The brutal truth of football is that huge games are played where huge money is. I believe it is the role of the state to support the growth of the most popular sport discipline. It pertains mainly to funds on training the youth, building infrastructure, but also growing and supporting of talents," he listed.
He announced that additional money would be earmarked for those goals.
Morawiecki added that "Poland's successful performance at the World Cup is a good occasion to launch a debate on the future of Polish football". "I'm certain that without increased spending on Polish football it will be hard to compete with the best, and yet our players demonstrated it's possible," he underscored. "I also think that rewarding for performance at the most prestigious tournaments is an important element of the whole system, and at the same time the role of the (Football) Association and main sponsors."
"And finally, in plain words: there will be no government funds for bonuses for football players," the prime minister stressed.
"Our players deserve some kind of bonus"
Earlier on, ruling camp members commented on the issue a number of times, but failed to provide a clear answer to the question if the players would receive bonuses of not.
Pro-government TV "wPolsce" asked PM Morawiecki about the bonuses on Tuesday. "This success is worth every penny. We are in talks with the football community - Polish players, PZPN, Ekstraklasa - on how to increase the financing of Polish football. I mean the youth, infrastructure, but also professionals. I'm open to any possible ideas here," he said.
He also expressed his hope he would manage to meet with national team coach Czesław Michniewicz and PZPN chief Cezary Kulesza by the end of the year. "So that we could think about the future and make sure it's even better, so we can share even more joy," Morawiecki added.
Polish prime minister also announced the government was planning to spend much more money on football. "Not 30, not 40 million, possibly a lot more than 100 million. I want Polish football to reach the highest level possible. This is joy for all citizens," he said.
"I think our players deserve some kind of bonus. They really qualified from the group. They actually played really well. They got their money from FIFA, I don't know how much exactly, but I think around 20, or even more, million zlotys only for qualifying from the group," the prime minister said.
Gov't spokesperson: PM mentioned qualifying from group as a condition
Responding to criticism, government spokesperson Piotr Muller said on Monday that Morawiecki "is in constant contact" with PZPN chairman Cezary Kulesza and national team coach Czesław Michniewicz. "They discussed support for Polish football, but at the same time the prime minister indeed mentioned that a condition for such additional support was qualifying from group," Muller said.
In Qatar, Poland had managed to qualify from Group C to the last 16 stage, where they were defeated by reigning world champions France.
On Monday Muller said: "We want to support Polish football by creating a special fund that will cover development and training for football-playing children, building new infrastructure, new technologies in sports, and development of Polish national team".
PiS spokesperson Rafał Bochenek told Radio Zet on Tuesday morning that "maybe there's been a misunderstanding" over the matter. "But yesterday this issue was resolved, speculation's over. It's been clearly stated that a support fund will be created," he said.
Asked if that meant the players would not pocket any cash, he replied: "As far as I know, there are no such plans, there are no such intention. There is a plan to create a fund".
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, tvn24.pl, wPolsce.pl