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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » October 26, 2012
Politics & Society
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In brief
October 26, 2012   
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Exclusive Poland
Poland, a 400-page coffee table book featuring large photographs of Poland, is the latest and probably the most exclusive offering from the BoSz publishing house. The book highlights the country’s natural beauty and provides an insight into its history. The photographs come with notes and articles written by figures well known in cultural and academic circles and a foreword from prominent Polish politicians: ex-president Lech Wałęsa and Jerzy Buzek, a former Polish prime minister and ex-president of the European Parliament.

Over 700 color photographs taken by well-known photographers, elegant paper and a hard cover with metallic print are some of the stand-out features of this exclusive publication. It is a book for erudite readers, with the photographic section preceded by chapters by experts including Prof. Henryk Samsonowicz, a distinguished Polish historian, and Franciszek Ziejka, a literary historian. The third author, Prof. Michał Kleiber, a former minister of science and higher education, is the president of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The layout provides the reader with a broad outlook on Poland as a modern country, revealing ties between events and phenomena which at a first glance seem distant in time and space.

Draw Amid Scandal
A Poland-vs.-England soccer World Cup qualifier at Warsaw’s National Stadium Oct. 17 ended in a 1-1 draw. The score can be considered a success for Poland because England are fifth in soccer governing body FIFA’s world rankings, while Poland are a distant 54th. But few Poland fans were celebrating. The match was played a day later than originally scheduled, after being postponed due to an embarrassing show of incompetence on the part of the organizers.

Weather forecasts for Oct. 16 were unfavorable for Warsaw and heavy rain was predicted. Despite that, the roof over the state-of-the-art zl.2 billion stadium, the best in Poland and built from scratch for the European soccer championships earlier this year, was not closed in time and the pitch turned into a swamp. The FIFA officials responsible for the match and the managers of both teams decided against playing in such conditions.

Officials from the National Sports Center (NCS), which operates the stadium, and the Polish Football Association (PZPN), which organized the match, quickly blamed each other.

The situation outraged thousands of soccer fans in the stadium and millions in front of TV sets. The problem immediately became a political issue, with the opposition demanding the dismissal of Sport Minister Joanna Mucha and the managers of the NCS. Prime Minister Donald Tusk, himself an ardent soccer fan, ordered an investigation and said those responsible would be punished.

The qualifier was eventually played on the 39th anniversary of a famous Poland-England match at London’s Wembley Stadium, which also ended in a 1-1 draw, to the surprise of experts and fans, allowing Poland to qualify for the 1974 World Cup in Germany and knocking England out of the tournament. During the World Cup tournament that year, Poland created a sensation, finishing third.

The latest draw against England did not improve Poland’s position in its qualifying group, which includes Ukraine, Montenegro, Moldova and San Marino. Poland remain third after three matches. Only the best team from the group will directly qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the second-placed team, if they score enough points, will have a chance to qualify through playoffs. Poland still have seven qualifying matches to play next year.
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