• January 8, 2014
  • 224

The history of “Polonia Wilno” dra(e)ws to a close?

© Kurerwilenski.lt

Only few aficionados of Polish football have heard about such sports club as Lwów (four level of games in Ukraine), Polonia Chmielnicki (five, amateur level of games in Ukraine) or Polonia Wilno, playing in the backs of Lithuanian Premiership (I League).

People who are interested in History remember that Polish football started in Lvov among other things and “Pogoń” which played there where the Polish champion. Let’s recall that “Polonia Wilno” is the only Polish sports club which played in the first league. Moreover, the players of the club came in first at Igrzyska Polonijne (“Polish Olympic Games) four times. In 2005 at Warsaw stadium of AWF, when they came in first, Michał Listkiewicz, the chairman of PZPN said that these team could play in the III League. Kazimierz Górski awarded medals to the players, which made the event special.

The club referred to the football traditions in the city (WKS Wilno) and tried to put the idea of the team, in which Poles, Russians and Lithuanians played, into practice. They were inspired by “Sparta Konwo”, the club of Polish minority in the interwar Republic of Lithuania.

In 2011, Vilnius Polonia advanced to the backs of A League, that is Lithuanian Premiership. In 2012, it was not easy for them, “Beniaminek” from Vilnius ended up in the 6th place and gained 18 points. The team lacked 8 points to be on the third place. The match (October 2012)  with “Polonia Warszawa”, which played in the Premiership at that time, was a crowning achievement of the season (in Lithuania, games take place in winter-autumn). The difference between the amateurs from Lithuania and the professionals from Konwiktorska Street was visible. The result of the match was 10-0, though the football players from Vilnius had an opportunity to score a penalty goal in the last few minutes.

Financial problems came back in 2013. It is the reason why Polonia had minus three points at the beginning of the games in the spring. Stefan Kimso, the chairman of the club, said that  the club should be financially stability, with almost 400 000 litas (480 000 pln) in order to be able to think about the place in the top of the I League. It is worth mentioning that the football players did not get high pays for their victory. Mostly it was 50 litas.

At that time, the team created its website (http://www.kspolonia.lt) and the facebook profile (http://www.facebook.com/kspoloniawilno). Thanks to the social engagement of Aleksander Sudujka, who is the spokesperson of Polonia, it was possible to keep abreast of the results of the football team and the changing meeting course.

However, the limited financial assets of RP in Vilnius and “Syrena” from Wroclaw – the producer and the deliverer of building materials – finished at the end of August last year. The football club was in danger of not taking part in the games.

At the beginning of September an appeal for help was made in „Kurier Wileński”, on websites of the football team and facebook. Polonia Wilno was able to take part in the whole football season and came in 10th place, which guaranteed them a stable position in the I League, thanks to donors’ help. Financial situation did not allow them to play in the last derby match with Žalgiris 3 Vilnius. Fortunately, it did not have an influence on the place the football team came in the table.

When the season finished, the authorities of the club started to look for financial assets for the next season. They planned to win a strategic sponsor over sending a sponsor offer. Komisja Spraw Emigracji i Łączności z Polakami za Granicą Senatu RP (Commission of Emigration and Contact with Poles abroad of the Government of RP) got interested in the matter of Polonia Wilno at the end of October 2013.

The time went fast. Maybe too fast. Particular documents (with financial security and  a confirmation of settling debts from the previous season) were to hand in till 12 December 2013 to Lietuvos futbolo federacija.

-Polonia Wilno did not hand in those documents. We can be 98% sure that theyw ill not take part in the games in 2014 because of financial problems. It means that the football section will be closed down. I will propose this suggestion to the club council at the near meeting – said, Stefan Kimso, the chairman of Polonia Wilno – I do hope that there will still be two amateurs sections – shooting and a football one.

We hope that the football team will survive the hard time and in two years time they will celebrate their 25th anniversary. The institutions and people who are not indifferent on Polish football’s fortune, can give a donation to Fundacja Dziedzictwo Kresowe, which one of the aims is to support Polish sport abroad. Payments may be made on a bank account: BANK PEKAO SA 83-1240-1037-1111-0010-4648-1167.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2014/01/08/historia-polonii-wilno-dobiegla-konca/

Tłumaczenie by Anna Kwiatkowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Anna Kwiatkowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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