Poland suspends league champion Wroclaw Panthers for banning players from national team

The Wroclaw Panthers have barred their players from playing for the Polish national team this weekend in a friendly game against Team Switzerland. So the Polish Federation of American Football has suspended the club.

In a statement, Panthers administration said that the 23 Panthers players who had been picked to play for Team Poland for the September 16 game against the Swiss, were not given permission by the club.

According to the club, the reason was purely and simply for the safety and welfare of the players.

The Polish season finished in late June with the Panthers winning the title for the second year in a row. Then Poland hosted the 2017 World Games which included American football this year and Team Poland played two games, in late July. A number of Panthers players were hurt in that tournament according to the club and issues regarding the care and treatment of these players have apparently not been resolved.

Wroclaw general manager Jakub Glogowski:

“The health of our players is our priority. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are the keys to such a physical discipline. There are still no clear rules [from the Polish federation] for treatment of injuries suffered during games and preparations for the Polish National Team”

One of the players who defied the club ban, Patryck Matkowski, was apparently suspended by the Panthers.

In retaliation, the Polish federation has suspended the Panthers for the 2018 season.

“There can be no place for a person or persons who do not respect the national anthem and colors.”

What this means for the game against Switzerland remains to be seen, although the national team coaches may well have been made aware of the issue in advance. It was already well known that upwards of 10 of the Panthers players were injured would not have been able to play anyway. And it looks like the game is going ahead.





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