Warsaw stadium manager sacked over roof fiasco
October 30, 2012
Sports Minister Joanna Mucha and new head of the National Sports Center Michal Prymas
Poland's sports minister Joanna Mucha has dismissed the head of the National Sports Center (NCS) Robert Wojtas following a debacle in which Poland’s World Cup qualifier against England had to be postponed after heavy rain flooded the pitch at the NCS-managed National Stadium in Warsaw.
Wojas was blamed for failing to order closure of the retractable roof of the flagship stadium, ahead of the match, despite forecasts of bad weather.
Mucha appointed Michal Prymas, former deputy head of the Euro 2012 organizers in the western city of Poznan, to be acting manager of the NCS until the end of the year.
Thousands of Poland and England fans Oct 16 were left fuming after World Cup qualifier had to be put off, while the fiasco turned into a major political row.
Opposition parties accused the government of causing Poland and its National Stadium, built in the run-up to June's Euro 2012 soccer championships jointly hosted by Poland, to become the butt of jokes in Britain and demanded Mucha’s head.
Mucha offered to step down last week, but Prime Minister Donald Tusk did not accept the resignation. Presenting the results of a government probe into the “roofgate” Tusk defended Mucha, saying that the sports ministry had insufficient control over the NCS.
Polish Football Association has said the FIFA delegate requested the closure of the roof one hour ahead of the original kick-off and was told by NCS that was not possible because of safety concerns.