At the World Cup in Qatar, the Polish national team made it into the round of 16 for the first time since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where they lost 3-1 to World Cup favorites France. Nevertheless, it was a success for the team around Robert Lewandowski (34)…
And yet the Barça star faces criticism in his home country and has to face accusations of greed for an alleged bonus payment to the Polish team of the equivalent of almost 6.4 million euros.
The ex-Bayern striker is now defending himself against the Polish portal “onet.pl”. The Poland captain justifies: “We didn’t expect anything, we never asked for anything and we didn’t use public funds either.”
And further: “We didn’t go to the World Cup for the money, to be clear. We see football and the national team above all as pride.”
Foto: Getty Images
About the bonus payments of almost 30 million złoty (6.4 million euros) to the national team, which the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (54) is said to have promised if they reached the round of 16, was almost a week after the end in Qatar a big public dispute sparked among our neighbors. The Polish portal “WP Sportowe Fakty” reported first.
What makes the Polish population so angry: The millions should be taken from public funds. However, Poland is suffering immensely from the consequences of the war in neighboring Ukraine, and inflation has now risen to a whopping 18 percent.
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Accordingly, Morawiecki is said to have met Poland coach Czesław Michniewicz (52) and the team before the tournament in Qatar to discuss the bonus payments.
Lewandowski confirms that there have been talks regarding the controversial bonus. He says that the talk with the Prime Minister about the bonus was held a few minutes before leaving the hotel for the airport.
Photo: SUHAIB SALEM/REUTERS
Lewandowski: “There was a statement from the prime minister, but to be honest we, the players, didn’t take it very seriously. There was never any discussion as to where this bonus would come from, by what means. For us it was a bit of virtual money.”
The captain of the Polish national team also emphasized that he is glad that the players didn’t get a bonus from public funds in the end. According to Lewandowski, sport should not mix with politics, otherwise “young people would turn away from sport”.