Polish prime minister U-turns on World Cup player bonus amid inflation

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By Euronews  with AP
Poland lost 1-3 to France in their Round of 16 knockout match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Poland lost 1-3 to France in their Round of 16 knockout match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Poland’s prime minister has backed down on a decision to award bonuses to the national football after the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

Mateusz Morawiecki had initially promised the team a bonus of 30 million złoty (€6.4 million) after they progressed to the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in 36 years.

But just hours later, he performed a u-turn and stated that “there will be no government means” for bonuses for the players.

The bonus proposal was widely criticised by opposition lawmakers and commentators amid Poland's budget deficit.

With inflation running at over 17% in the country, critics have argued that taxpayers' money could be better spent on supporting citizens during the cost of living crisis.

Government spokesman Piotr Mueller had previously suggested that more money would be spent on training children and developing football infrastructure.

Morawiecki had said he believes that the players have earned the reward for achieving Poland’s best result at the World Cup since 1986.

"The problem of Polish football for years has been the level of funding," he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

"The successful performance of Poles at the World Cup is a good opportunity to start a discussion on the future of Polish football," Morawiecki added, pledging to allocate more state funds.

Poland advanced from Group C after defeating Saudi Arabia, drawing with Mexico, and losing to Argentina. They were then eliminated in the Round of 16 by defending champions France.