Poland reviewing rain-delayed qualifier


WARSAW, Poland (AP) -The Polish government has begun an inquiry into the embarrassing delay of this week's Poland-England World Cup qualifier because the open stadium roof allowed rain to waterlog the field.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk ordered the probe to answer questions such as why the pitch failed to drain properly, and why the roof was not closed.

Poles have taken to calling the new National Stadium, built for this summer's European Championship, the National Swimming Pool since the debacle on Tuesday.

The retractable roof was left open during heavy rain that started at lunchtime, and the match was put off to Wednesday, angering the sellout crowd of 55,000 and humiliating Polish football.

Sports Ministry spokeswoman Katarzyna Kochaniak said on Thursday that the Polish Football Association approved the National Stadium for the game. The turf on the pitch was laid down last week.

Kochaniak told The Associated Press that the "decision and the button" to close the roof were under the "finger of the FIFA delegate." Earlier, Poland's FA said the delegate wanted the roof closed an hour ahead of kickoff, but stadium management refused to do it under pouring rain, for security reasons.

The roof was closed when the teams drew 1-1 on Wednesday, a clear day.

On Thursday, a Warsaw court imposed a two-year stadium ban for two fans who ran and pretended to swim on the water-drenched pitch after the game was cancelled.

Tusk, an amateur footballer, said on Twitter that they posed no threat to anyone and shouldn't be punished.

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