Polonia owner sells top-flight slot

Polonia Warsaw, one of Poland's oldest football clubs, is in disarray after its owner made good on a threat to quit the game and sold its top-flight berth to a second division side.

Polonia's construction magnate boss Jozef Wojciechowski has struck a deal with Ireneusz Krol, owner of southern Polish side GKS Katowice, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

Under its terms, the two teams will be folded into a single club named KP Katowice that will enter Poland's 16-club Ekstraklasa first division.

The Polish football association is expected to announce on 2 August whether it will approve the move, two weeks before the new season kicks off.

"From my point of view, the sporting side of this is the most important one," Krol was quoted as saying by PAP, underlining that the priority was now to get ready for the looming season.

"GKS Katowice's players are already in pre-season training, and those who remain at Polonia will come down to the camp, starting from Wednesday."

GKS coach Rafal Gorak will remain at the helm of the new club for now, he said.

But new-born KP Katowice looks set to have to play outside its home city in Poland's Silesian coal belt, because its current stadium is not yet up to scratch for top-flight football.

It may end up renting a stadium in the city of Krakow, 80 kilometres away from Katowice, pending the expected completion of an upgrade of its own ground at the end of November.

Wojciechowski - known for outspoken comments and sacking a string of coaches - had threatened to dump Polonia on several previous occasions before finally deciding to make the leap.

Wojciechowski bought Polonia in 2006 and rapidly became known for his tough, hands-on approach and ambitions for the club.

After it was relegated, he controversially bought another club, Groclin Grodzisk Wielkopolski, in 2008 along with its berth in the first division, and folded the two teams together to return Polonia to the top flight.

Polonia failed in its bid to mark its 100th anniversary by winning the 2011 title, and Wojciechowski later announced that he planned to get out of football.

Source AFP