Former president of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski has been named as a Friend of UEFA EURO 2012 along with ex-international footballer Władysław Żmuda and television commentator Włodzimierz Szaranowicz.
Polish Football Federation (PZPN) president Grzegorz Lato and the country's UEFA EURO 2012 tournament director Adam Olkowicz helped bring the trio on board during a ceremony on breakfast TV show Kawa czy Herbata? (Tea or Coffee?)
Poland's president from 1995 to 2005, the 56-year-old Kwaśniewski said: "I am delighted I can support the local organising committee [LOC]. It's one of the most important sporting events in the world. For almost one month, people from all over the globe will be watching Poland. We can't make any mistakes." He added: "It's nice we are hosting this event together with Ukraine. I have lots of friends in that country."
Former defender Żmuda, whose 91 caps for Poland include a national-record 21 appearances at four FIFA World Cups between 1974 and 1986, said: "We are still looking back to the last big Polish successes [third place at the 1974 and 1982 World Cups] and want them again. Even if the current performance of the national team is not so promising, I would love to see the Poles fighting for medals as EURO hosts."
"If Franciszek Smuda's team struggle, I would like to see Władysław Żmuda and Grzegorz Lato get their shorts on again and get on the pitch," Kwaśniewski joked.
"UEFA EURO 2012 is a unique event," continued Szaranowicz, who is acting head of sport at Polish state TV service Telewizja Polska (TVP). "Sometimes I can't even sleep thinking about all the challenges. I am saying this not only as football fan, but also as head of the sports department at TVP. We have the TV rights for the tournament and have to prepare ourselves for this festival."
Up to 100 people in Poland will be officially named as Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 – half of them public figures selected by the LOC, with the remaining spots open to the general public via competitions for people of all ages. Tournament co-hosts Ukraine will also nominate 100 Friends of EURO.
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