- February 20, 2014
S.Kimso: Polonia Wilno still in action!
A piece of good news for all fans of the sports club Polonia Wilno: It will still play in the Premier League of the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF). The decision that Polonia Wilno will play among 24 best teams of Lithuania was taken at the last moment – already after the deadline of submitting the application for receiving the license to play in this year`s games. The authorities of the club were not sure if Polonia Wilno could afford playing and these were sponsors` assurances they will lend financial support that induced the club not to quit playing. According to the chairman of the sports club, Stefan Kimso, it is still not too late to receive the license and to join 13 clubs of the Premier League – in accordance with the decision of The Lithuanian Football Federation it should consist of 14 teams (two more than a year ago).
Searching for the sponsors is still in progress, since the club has not received the promised financial support yet which would enable the players to focus purely on playing, the trainings and allow to strengthen the team. In the last weeks several Polish companies ensured the club`s authorities that they will lend financial support thanks to which Polonia Wilno could consider playing in the next games.
Polonia Wilno, the only independent Polish club in Lithuania that prepares for celebration the 25th anniversary, for many years has been striving for subsidies from Poland that have helped to keep the club working or even to develop it. However, when the team achieved the best result and qualified to the Premier League– in Lithuania it is still not a professional League – its financing was immediately stopped. Polish foundations and associations dealing with supporting the Polish character abroad with the governmental funds acknowledged that it is a sports business, although it is just enough to visit Vilnius for a couple of days to see what sort of business one can make having just “Polonia” in the name.
Any from the polish self – governments of the Vilnius region that – as the activists from the polish party claim – do really well, are not in debt, but football…? They are not eager to invest in the public club. Clearly the evidence of Trakai, where the football club Trakai, supported by the self – government of the Trakai region ( The Poles were there till recently in the ruling coalition) and by the private sponsors and consisting of one third of the Poles there, advanced to the Premiership, was not able to impress the neighbors to hurt their pride.
Lithuania does not lack rich Polish businessmen, however, many of them would rather pay an additional charge to not let it out that they support Polonia Wilno. Perhaps this situation will change the Association of Polish Businessmen Forum “Korona” that does not have to be afraid of the company`s image in the Lithuanian society. So far the acting chairperson (and in fact, still the chairman) of Polonia, Stefan Kimso, counts first of all on the countrymen from Macierz that understand the importance of thePolish clubs playing in the Lithuanian games. It is relevant both for the Poles living in the Vilnius region, and for the relations between Poland and Lithuania – that is why they want to lend them financial support. These are both small private companies and big concerns and foundations that apply for money at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic Poland – it is possible that this year one of them will again receive the subsidy for the polish club on the Neris.
As a consequences of the sluggishness during the searching for sponsors ( or in taking decisions), the team will probably start with 3 penalty points, exactly as one year ago. Then Granitas from Klaipėda started the season with 3 penalty points and it did really well, winning the first place already a couple of rounds before the ending of the season. The group from Klaipėda takes football very seriously and already after one season advanced to the Premiership.
Playing in the Premier League cannot be the goal in itself – it will be quite bad for the motivation and combative mood among the Polonia Wilno`s players if they would not aim at advancing to Premiership. Is there any chance for it? The chairman of the club thinks that there is a real chance (the proof is FK Trakai), although in practice even winning in the Premier League does not guarantee that Polish team could fight for example for starting in the Europa League. The club couldn`t afford the license for playing in the A League ( Lithuanian Premier League). All the more, considering the experience in searching for the sponsors – without them playing in the professional system would be impossible.
However, the soldier that does not want to be a general is weak. We wish Polonia Wilno more ambitions, passion, talented youth, dedicated fans, even more sponsors and correct decisions of the authorities and we hope that in the future they will show what they really can achieve.
Tłumaczenie by Barbara Toczek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Barbara Toczek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.