- February 16, 2013
Dowigała’s fairy tales: Lithuanian – Polish football war
The good news is: “Polonia” Vilnius will participate in the Lithuanian First Football League games in the 2013 season. The bad news: for now, I see no good reason for continuing the said activity on the said level. As one of the toasts in the legendary Soviet comedy Kawkazkaja plennica says: I want to buy a house but I don’t have the ability to do so. I have the ability to buy a goat, but I don’t want to. So, let’s drink for our needs to be equal to our abilities.
But let’s take it all step by step.
Fairy tale number 12. About love and wishes.
Generally, the Lithuanian football has been weak since the times of the new independence. There are many reasons for that and no people responsible. The main reason, my dear Reader, is as prosaic as the world outside your window can be. A thief runs after a thief, and then he is changed into a thief. Going less abstract, these are the criminal facts, which are not the topic of the tale, but still, it doesn’t change the facts. And our football falls down with the speed of “kołobek” (it’s a mean guy from a Russian fairy tale) rolling down from the Gediminas’ mountain.
Sports Club “Polonia” is not doing great either.
At its beginnings, when the organisation’s name was “Sports Club of Poles in Lithuania” (and as Wikipedia informs, “later the headquarters, Vilnius, was added, since Lithuanian authorities forbade a sports club to embrace the whole country with its activities” and here it gets separate chauvinistic “applause” from me), I admit, I was amazed with “Polonia’s” emblem. White background, red eagle, Polonia, it was ours. The sticker found its honourable place on the cover of my student’s diary really quickly. Just next to it, there were Pogoń, „Żalgiris” Vilnius, Diego Maradona. Shortly speaking, the place was honourable like hell.
In 2011 there came the success of “Polonia” Vilnius. A success of which one could be proud and tell others about it. The first place in the Second League of the Southern Region, 1/8 of the Lithuanian Cup. And as a reward – 2012 season participation in the second most important Lithuanian league – „LFF 1 lyga”.
Unfortunately, the reward was better manager by the players than by the administration, including the chairman of the club. There was the 5th position as early as in the first season (even though there was an incident with a walkover, caused by transportation issues. Ach, buses, teams don’t manage to appear on matches because of them.) and the great unknown concerning the future of the club in the play.
Last year’s information from the battlefield said that in the day of applying for a license to play in the 2013 season, the club wouldn’t even have the required 18000 litas to pay the Federation fees. Not even mentioning the rest of requirements needed to get the license. The chairman, in the Borys Jelcyn’ s style, says: „ja ustał, ja uchożu”. All fans of the club (all the 20 people) are desperate, they don’t know what will happen to their flares, scarves and fireworks (an alternative way of using them could be celebrating the birthday of Józef Piłsudski in Rossa; but I will restrain myself from commenting on it because big All Souls’ Day candles are beyond my imagination already).
There appeared a petition to the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski, in which, in a rather exotic style, Polish tax payers were encouraged to sponsor the Vilnius football club (“sport, and especially football, can appeal to young people on the basis of a partnership, not a confrontation”; and what I see in front of my eyes is the friendly match between Lithuania and Poland in Kaunas, where “on the basis of a partnership” pieces of concrete and bricks were flying from the tribunes, and as an act of “appealing to young people” two merchandise kiosks on the stadium were demolished.)
Going back to the topic of finances. The same fans of “Polonia” Vilnius presented an example yearly budget of the “Warta” football club from Poznań, belonging to a corresponding Polish league. It is a sum of more or less 2.3 million zlotys. Taking into consideration our economic and social circumstances, an average budget of “Polonia” should add up to 120 – 150 thousand litas. Which is a cosmic sum, if we look at three facts.
One. Who pays for the dinner? I have read many proposal for the ways in which a club should be financed. The most interesting was the one for “Polonia” Vinlius. The only problem is that the sums collected during charity actions organised by Lithuanian Poles haven’t exceeded 15-20 thousand litas. Which is 10% of the budget.
Second. Donation from Poland. Sounds great, but also like a short-sighted thing. “Poland is rich, Radek will give us some money” (and Lithuania is poor and Linas will not understand the “Żalgiris’s” request from London to make a donation so that they could participate in the First League of the British basketball.) So let’s get rid of unnecessary illusions. Also, we should remember that “it’s better to die standing, than live the whole life kneeling”.
Third. The administration should have known about the cost of participation in the league before. So, in my opinion, presenting these young angry people with flags of the neighbouring country with a fait accompli that the club does not take part in the game for financial reasons is at least irresponsible. And I don’t feel convinced by opinions about the chairman of “Polonia” coming from the Teddy Bear fiml –long love the chairman of our club…
Instead of giving a moral, I will repeat the beginning of the article here. The club got a licence for the 2013 season as an exception. The budget will suffer from the penalty (1000 litas for being late with the application) and the club will start playing with -3 points on its account. But it will start playing. And it will fight financial problems for a long time. Until the moment when the administration of “Polonia” Vilnius will decide if the club is a professional or an amateur one. Variations are possible.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.