Losing a match against Hungary in the World Cup qualifiers can cost a lot more than just not seeding in the play-offs. Due to the fact that the match will not take place at PGE Narodowy, and the issue of promotion to Qatar becomes highly doubtful, we learned that PZPN wants to cut the budget by as much as 30 percent! Individual departments of the federation have just received orders to reduce expenses. Including the training department, which was to be the apple of the eye of the new president, Cezary Kulesza.
The decision of coach Paulo Sousa on the reserve line-up for the last match of the group eliminations with Hungary (1: 2), as well as the determination in the case of Robert Lewandowski that the captain of the national team will not play in this match, implies not only a bumpy road in the play-offs. This has enormous financial consequences, which the Polish Football Association is getting ready for now.
Let’s start from the beginning. At the Monday meeting of the board before the game with Hungary, its members were informed that due to COVID, the decrease in income and the associated loss, it would be necessary to find about PLN 20 million in savings for 2022 compared to the spending estimate proposed by individual departments. It already seemed like a big financial blow, but when it turned out on Tuesday that the Poles would not play at home in the play-offs, and therefore there would be no income from the organization of this match, the hole grew by another PLN 10 million. This is the income from one match with revenues of PLN 15 million. The lack of seeding is also a more difficult sports path, which significantly reduces the chances of being promoted to the world championship to Qatar. The World Cup performance is associated not only with splendor, but most of all with profits estimated at around USD 12 million. Taking into account the new sponsorship contracts resulting from a trip to such a prestigious event, if Poles do not get promotion, the federation will lose another PLN 40 million.
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Looking at the odds for the white-and-reds realistically, and the Friday draw of play-offs will explain a lot, they are relatively small. They are aware of this in the Polish Football Association, which is why at the end of last week individual departments received an instruction to cut the budget by as much as 30 percent. It was published by the vice-president for financial and organizational matters, Henryk Kula and Eugeniusz Nowak, the right hand of the previous president, Zbigniew Bonek, who dealt with budget matters for nine years and now helps Kula. They both reckon with the fact that in the absence of a promotion, the box office will run out of PLN 70 million, so without the possibility of negotiating, they firmly ordered such huge cuts. Let us remind you that the federation’s budget has recently reached the level of PLN 250 million, which is why the change is radical.
Some departments immediately developed an austerity plan, even though it was extremely painful for them, some do not know how to go about it because it means turning the entire plan upside down.
The training department may suffer the most, which not only may not implement new ideas, but also will have to cut back on its activities. And yet the training was supposed to be the apple of president Kulesza’s eye, this issue was raised the loudest during the election campaign, and everyone from the football community had high hopes for this area. Let us add that the vice-president for training, Maciej Mateńka, has been entrusted with the responsibility for its functioning.
We will write more about the functioning of this area and its plans on Friday. In summary, however, you can be very concerned that the match with Hungary may bring to Polish football not only a sports disaster, but also a financial and training disaster.
Przemysław Iwanczyk, Polsat Sport
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