PM refuses to accept sports minister’s resignation
October 25, 2012
Tusk (left) and Mucha
Prime Minister Donald Tusk Wednesday said he has not accepted Sports Minister Joanna Mucha’s resignation over a fiasco that saw Poland’s World Cup qualifier against England postponed after heavy rain flooded the pitch.
Presenting the results of a government probe into last week’s debacle, in which the retractable roof of the flagship National Stadium in Warsaw was not closed for the match despite forecasts of bad weather, Tusk defended Mucha, who has been heavily criticized for a series of gaffes and blunders in office.
Tusk told a press conference that the sports ministry had insufficient control over the National Sports Center, which manages the recently built National Stadium.
He said that he expected Mucha to take “action to remedy the situation” before the end of the year. But he added that such failings were not a direct cause of the Poland-England match being called off.
Leszek Miller, head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) party, attacked Tusk’s decision not to fire Mucha, saying: “This is a signal that whatever happens in Poland in the future, ministers bear no responsibility.”
Fans were left fuming after last week’s World Cup qualifier had to be put off, while opposition parties accused the government of causing Poland and its National Stadium to become become the butt of jokes in Britain.
Tusk said Wednesday that an official from FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, was responsible for deciding whether the match should be held under a closed roof after consulting the referee and both teams.
Meanwhile, the Polish National Stadium’s retractable roof could not be closed during heavy rain for safety reasons, he added.
The England-Poland match was played last Wednesday, a day later than originally planned, ending in a 1:1 draw.