Jan Tomaszewski: photo - PAP/Grzegorz Jakubowski
Tomaszewski – the man known in Poland for stopping England advancing to the 1974 World Cup finals after a famous 1 – 1 at Wembley – is now an MP for the Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Lamenting the poor squad that coach Fanciszek Smuda has cobbled together for the Euro 2012 championships, which begin on 8 June, Tomaszewski has said that the coach has chosen, "a player who has been convicted of corruption, a Frenchman and two Germans who have already played for France and Germany."
Tomaszewski is referring to Łukasz Piszczek, who the Polish football association gave a six-month suspension to last year in connection with a match fixing scandal in 2006, though the suspension was later cancelled.
Former goalkeeper Tomaszewski is also referring to Sebastian Boenisch and Eugen Polanski, who, though both born in Poland, played for the German Under-21 team before deciding to play for Poland; and Damien Perquis, who was born in France but is of Polish parents and is now a Polish citizen.
Tomaszewski is angry that coach Smuda has had to cast his net widely to try and strengthen a squad which is currently ranked 65th in the world and is the weakest team ever to host a Euro football championships, at the expense of what he called “true Poles”.
“I am ashamed that I ever played for the Polish national team, wearing the eagle [Poland's national emblem], which today has been profaned,” Tomaszewski bristled during an interview for Radio Zet.
The MP – known for his controversial comments about the state of Polish football – even questioned the nationality of Franciszek Smuda, asking whether he was a “German or a Pole?”
“Smuda once boasted that he has a valid German ID card [after having worked in Germany] and that he is German. This is not a crime, but I'd like to know who he is - a German or a Pole?”
Tomaszewski's comments have been criticised by another former sports star turned politician, Jagna Marczułajtis, who was once a Polish snowborder but is now an MP for the ruling centre-right Civic Platform.
Marczułajtis said as Tomaszewski is an Olympic silver medalist, after Poland's football team came second in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, he should give back a pension paid to all Polish Olympians.
“If he is so ashamed [to have played for Poland] then let him pay back the money,” she said, estimating that Tomaszewski has received around a quarter of a million zloty (60,000 euros) from the state.
Tomaszewski dismissed Marczułajtis's call for him to return the money, saying it was a “:stupid request”. (pg)