New government program. Hundreds of millions for Polish football

As determined by Interia, in January the government wants to announce the start of the Champions Support Program, which was prepared with the best sports teams in Poland in mind. As part of it, huge money is to flow in a wide stream to representatives of several of the most popular disciplines: football, volleyball, basketball, handball and hockey.

The biggest beneficiaries, however, will be football clubs. The documents we have obtained show that this season, Polish football can be credited with the amount of nearly PLN 170 million.

What is the distribution of such huge funds about? We learned from unofficial sources related to the Ministry of Sport that in 2022 all Ekstraklasa and 1st Liga clubs may receive one-off grants for the creation of modern research and development centers owned by Legia Warszawa or Lech Poznań in Poland.

The program is to be coordinated by the aforementioned Ministry of Sport. According to our information, each Ekstraklasa club may soon receive PLN 6 million, while the teams of the 1st League – PLN 2 million each. In total, about PLN 150 million was allocated to infrastructure support.

– The point is that the funds should be invested in something that will serve for years. Thanks to this, the preparation of young footballers will come to a higher level. The examples of Jakub Kamiński from Lech, Michał Karbownik from Legia or Kacper Kozłowski from Pogoń Szczecin show that the training brings results. And thanks to this program, there may be even more effects – assures Interia one of the people involved in the work on the Support for Champions Program.

The second element of the government’s plan, which – according to the assumptions – is to be implemented in 2022-2025, is to support clubs that will advance to the European cups. The first three Ekstraklasa teams, as well as the winner of the Polish Cup, are to be awarded annual bonuses. As we hear, all this is to compensate for the losses resulting from the low seeding of Polish teams in the cup rankings, which automatically increases the scale of difficulty (and usually results in potentially lower income).

So how much is there to be lifted from the pitch? While for the ongoing season 2021/2022 it is to be PLN 8 million for the Polish champion, PLN 5 million each for the vice-champion and the third team of the league, and PLN 6 million for the winner of the Polish Cup, the amounts are increasing since the 2022/2023 games. The champion, who will take part in the Champions League qualification, will receive as much as PLN 30 million. The clubs taking part in the Europa League qualifying rounds will receive approx. PLN 20 million each, and the Cup winner – approx. PLN 25 million. This means that PLN 300 million will be allocated to the ball in the seasons 2022/2023, 2023/2024 and 2024/2025!

The presentation of the program for Ekstraklasa and 1st League clubs is to take place on Friday. On the same day, a meeting with sports associations and leagues of other disciplines will take place at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. According to our findings, the author of the concept of supporting Polish clubs in Europe is Dariusz Mioduski, president of Legia. The idea was born three years ago during the Football Round Table, but only now has it been realized.

A key role in the project was played by the president of the Polish Football Association Cezary Kulesza, who took part in meetings with President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Minister Kamil Bortniczuk, whom he persuaded to implement the above-mentioned concept. Ultimately, it was the head of government who gave the green light to a costly project. Kulesza was also supposed to fight for additional money for infrastructure support for all Ekstraklasa and 1st League clubs.

The Champions Support Program is also aimed at volleyball, basketball, handball and hockey clubs. In total, over PLN 700 million will be allocated to Polish sport.

Sebastian Staszewski, Interia

About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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