Sebastian Staszewski, Intria: – Should the Polish national team travel to Moscow on March 24 for the play-off with Russia in the context of the events on the eastern border of Ukraine?
Entire Bortnikzuk: – If it were up to me, we wouldn’t go to Moscow …
– Because I believe that any participation of the European team in a sporting event held in the Russian Federation will be used by the Vladimir Putin regime for propaganda activities … At the same time, I am fully aware that the absence of this match will be very painful for our fans, because perhaps the national team will be punished with a loss.
However will you be able to pay the cost?
– I’d like to take that into consideration.
The former president of the Polish Football Association, Zbigniew Buniek, described discussions about the boycott as “completely trivial”. – FIFA said Poland will be punished with confiscation and no one will cry for us.
There are important and more important things in life. Football is the most irrelevant thing, but peace is the most important thing.
What can we do to prevent losing the world championship? After all, it would be a waste of the work of dozens of players and coaches. For players like Kamil Glik or Grzegorz Krychowiak, they might miss out on the last chance to play in the World Cup.
I count on diplomacy and solidarity.
But isn’t this wishful thinking? When Russia invaded Georgia or led to the annexation of Crimea, FIFA and UEFA did not protest. On the contrary: a year ago, at the European Championship, the European Football Association (UEFA) banned Ukraine from playing with shirts with border stripes before 2014.
– I realize it won’t be an easy task, but we have to say “stop” at some point. Because it would end badly for sports, too. Who knows if there will be a conflict during which football or volleyball matches will not be allowed at all. It is in the long-term interest of organizations like FIFA to see the problem.
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Do you think that the international community – and the match in Moscow may affect not only the Poles, but also the Swedes and the Czechs – will be able to impose anything on FIFA?
I count on the support of the Sports Ministers of the European Union and Great Britain. On Wednesday, I will send them a letter calling for joint action and an extension of the sanctions to sports as well. I hope this voice will be heard, because the past has shown that in matters of the East you can see more and better from Warsaw than from the capitals of Western Europe. We must finally act. In any case, something is happening, because the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, recently announced that he may also add to the economic sanctions those related to participation in sports competitions in the Russian Federation.
These talks will be difficult because Gazprom pumps millions of euros into the world ball. A shot at Russia is a shot at Gazprom. So a shot at the money.
There are moments in world history when you have to make a decision and stand forever. and work against the Roman principle of “pecunia non olet”. Because money stinks sometimes.
You look perfect. And politics, also in football, is a game of interests and corporations, both good and bad.
– I am aware of it, but I intend to do what I am satisfied with anyway. Because when I say ‘okay’ I also mean ‘peace’.
On Tuesday, PZPN President Cesare Colleza met with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. This means that the decision on the possible departure of the Poles to Moscow can be taken at a higher level of the Football Association?
– President Kulesza is a reasonable person and you can see that he wants to take the matter comprehensively. Of course we will talk to him and advise him. We know that there are a number of dependencies that indicate that we have a very difficult task ahead, but together we can achieve our goal.
You did not answer the question, so I would like to ask: what would happen if the Polish Football Association wanted to go to Moscow, and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism or even the government recommended abandoning this idea?
PZPN may make an independent decision. He has the right to be guided by his sporting ambitions, not by the national interest. The association was established for athletic competition, not geopolitical games. Ultimately, President Kulesza and the PZPN Council will decide what the representation will do. I just think it’s worth fighting for a different solution. Because to go to Moscow and win would be a beautiful symbol, but failure would be an outright humiliation.
The best solution is to move the match to a neutral area?
– I think so. As far as I know, this is what the Polish Football Association is advancing. Following this logic, we decided that Poland could organize the World Volleyball Championships scheduled for the summer, if the FIVB said there was nowhere to take them from Russia. After talks with Prime Minister Morawiecki and President Sebastian Schwedersky, we have prepared an alternative that we will propose to the Federation. In the case of football, we must also look for other solutions.
Interview with Sebastian Staszewski, Interia
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