The mayor of Poznan has thrown himself into UEFA EURO 2012, and as he told UEFA.com over a game of table football, he is delighted about the legacy the tournament will leave the city.
Ryszard Grobelny was already in a sporting frame of mind ahead of our duel, having just played an impressive game of volleyball with some Irish fans, and after taking a quick lead, he explained why the people of his city have been big winners. "It's great for Poznan – the people here have gained confidence because of the EURO," he said. "They are more open and cheerful, they are proud of their hometown and homeland. We will be better after the championships."
Once the subject moves to the football itself, Grobelny is no less effusive, although he does take his eye off the ball while describing his enthusiasm for the tournament – conceding several goals in the process. "It has been intense right from the beginning. Since Poland's first match, every single game has been full of drama and none have finished goalless. Everybody has a chance to win.
In this tournament we witness the beauty of sport while people are also having fun."
Mayor Grobelny quickly got back on level terms – he seemed to be playing better the more we talked, and is certainly proud of the city's rich athletic heritage. "Poznan holds the most sporting events in Poland. Every year around 30 important tournaments take place here – European or world championships. The regatta course on Lake Malta is one of the best in the world. Sport is a very important part of the city's life and it underpins our society."
Although Poland are out of the tournament, the event's legacy will linger. "We can be proud of our town – we had challenges to overcome and we came through them," Grobelny added. "Fans have come from around the world to be here and they've said it's a nice place, they like it and will certainly come back here."
Our contest finishes in a draw, but Grobelny says the game has only just started for Poznan. "We still want to go further," he added. "Poznan is worth visiting even after the tournament – so consider yourselves invited."
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