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Polish FA official sacked over ticket tout controversy in Dublin

Kazimierz Gren
Kazimierz Gren

A prominent Polish Football Association board member has been sacked after gardai caught him ticket-touting at the Aviva Stadium.

Following a court prosecution in Dublin in connection with his March 29th arrest at Lansdowne Road the Polish Football Association (PZPN) conducted an inquiry and their disciplinary committee has this week found that Kazimierz Gren broke ethical principles

Mr Gren – a well-known figure in Poland – was on the board of the PZPN and was also head of the Podkarpacki ZPN, a regional football association.

The PZPN has confirmed that on June 2 their disciplinary committee gave their decision and have banned him from holding a position in Polish football for the next 10 years.

The senior official had travelled to Dublin for his national team's March 29th match against Ireland, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The 52-year-old and a Polish woman were arrested and found in possession of 12 match tickets on the day of the match.

He ended up spending a night in a cell and the pair were charged under Section 3 of the Casual Trading Act for failing to produce a licence allowing them to sell the tickets in public places.

Gren, who is from Popieluszki, Rzeszow, in south-eastern Poland, and the woman, were brought to appear before Judge Walsh at Dublin District Court the following day, March 30th.

A garda sergeant gave a summary of the facts telling the Judge the case involved selling tickets without a licence at the Ireland-Poland match. “This is ticket-touting” the judge had said.

During the hearing, Gren's solicitor confirmed that his clients, who had the proceedings translated, were pleading guilty and told the court they had been “nearly home and dry" but he asked the judge to note that “they are holding their hands up, pleading guilty.”

The tickets had been sourced in Poland and Gren had been trying to accommodate some Polish people residing in Dublin, the judge was told.

Judge Walsh noted the pair had spent a night in custody. He had said he was marking the case as facts proved but in view of the extenuating circumstances he was striking it out, leaving Mr Gren and the woman without criminal convictions.

After reports of his court case were published in the Irish news media, the story went viral in Poland resulting in a scandal dubbed “Grengate”. It also led to further allegations that he originally had 49 match tickets.

On his return to Poland, he held a press conference disputing that a guilty plea was entered but he later blocked attempts by Polish football association when they formally asked Judge Walsh to order the release of a copy of the court's digital recording from the hearing.

The judge had adjourned making ruling on whether he would let the Polish FA have the recording until July.

PZPN media officer Jakub Kwiatkowski said: “The disciplinary committee of the Polish Football Association, at its meeting on 2 June 2015, decided to consider Kazimierz Gren as guilty of ticket touting for the Ireland - Poland match in Dublin. The committee said that it was in contravention of the Polish Football Association ethical-moral principles and disqualified Kazimierz Gren for 10 years.”

"The decision of the disciplinary committee was based on the content of collected documents, written and oral testimony of witnesses and the explanations of Mr Gren."

The PZPN spokesperson said that some evidence from the Dublin District Court trial could not be obtained, adding that this was “ due to the attitude of the accused, who through his attorney on May 20, 2015, before the Irish courts, objected to the disclosure of the documents in the case”.