Football: Poles are on the brink

FOOTBALL AROUND THE WORLD
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The Independent Online
Poland

THE POLISH football association (PZPN) said yesterday it would continue to defy Fifa's demand to name a date for a leadership election - and would not hold one for at least three months.

The PZPN has been playing a dangerous bluffing game with world football's governing body by ignoring an 8 April deadline for calling an election, despite warnings that could be expelled from the 2000 European Championship.

's sports minister, Jacek Dembski, has accused the PZPN of incompetence and corruption, and recently threatened to resign if new leaders were not elected by early August.

The PZPN missed Fifa's deadline because of what it called "procedural reasons". Its spokesman, Tomasz Jagodzinski, said: "We sent them a detailed explanation of why our board will meet on 29 April, when it will choose a date for the election. I don't think it will be sooner than three months."

Marian Dziurowicz, the autocratic long-time leader of the PZPN, has refused to either bring the election forward from next year, or to step down as promised.

Bulgaria

POLAND MAY not be the only country chucked out of England's Euro 2000 qualifying group. Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court has upheld a government decision to revoke the licence of the beleaguered Bulgarian Football Union (BFU).

The BFU has allegedly failed to act over a doping case and allowed unlicensed clubs to play in the league. The BFU president, Ivan Slavkov, has warned that if the licence was revoked Bulgaria could be excluded from international competition.

The State Committee for youth, physical education and sports, the equivalent of a sports ministry, accused the BFU management of failing to take action in a doping case ahead of last year's World Cup finals. The midfielder Ilia Gruev, who tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid last April, was dropped from the country's World Cup squad but was not otherwise punished. The other allegation concerned Gruev's club, Neftochimik Bourgas, who apparently lack an approved professional licence.

Germany

JENS LEHMANN, Borussia Dortmund's German international goalkeeper, was yesterday given a three-match ban by the disciplinary commission of the German Football Federation - for pulling the hair of the Hansa Rostock midfielder Timo Lange in a Bundesliga match won 2-0 by Rostock last Saturday.

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