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Poland footballer Peszko axed after drinking scandal
Published : 10 Apr 2012 15:17:16
Poland international Slawomir Peszko has been axed from the Euro 2012 co-hosts' squad after an alcohol-fuelled dispute with a taxi driver that saw him sanctioned by his German club Cologne.
"Peszko is out, as this was a repeat offence. He won't be in my team. End of story," Poland manager Franciszek Smuda told the daily Przeglad Sportowy.
Smuda said he "shook with rage" upon learning that attacking midfielder Peszko, 27, had been detained by German police late on Saturday following a night out with Poland team-mate Marcin Wasilewski, who plays for Belgian club Anderlecht.
In a statement, Bundesliga stragglers Cologne said Peszko had "consumed alcohol and got into a dispute with a taxi driver", but that they would not comment further.
They said he had confirmed the incident the following morning to Cologne manager Stale Solbakken.
"Slawomir Peszko has been dropped from Cologne's first team until further notice," they said, adding that he had also been fined an unspecified sum.
Peszko also issued an apology via the club, whom he joined in January 2011 from Polish top-flight side Lech Poznan.
"I am very sorry. I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time and I acted unprofessionally. I made a mistake. That's a fact," he said.
Peszko made his Poland debut in November 2008 under Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, and has remained on board since Smuda's October 2009 appointment, notching up 26 caps.
Smuda underlined that Peszko had already been in trouble for drunken misbehaviour after a friendly against Australia in Poland in September 2010.
"I acted like a father and gave the lad a second chance," 63-year-old Smuda told Przeglad Sportowy.
While Wasilewski was not reportedly involved in the fracas with the taxi driver, Smuda warned that the 32-year-old defender's presence during the incident meant he was on thin ice.
"If I find out he was under the influence, like Peszko, he'll be out too," he said, calling the two men "bird-brains".
Wasilewski earned his first Poland call-up in 2002 and has won 45 caps since then.
Euro 2012 kicks off on June 8 in Warsaw and ends on July 1 in Kiev, capital of fellow host nation Ukraine.
Poland are under pressure to perform, with fans aching for a return to their long-lost glory days.
Poland won Olympic gold in 1972, silver in 1976, and finished third at the World Cup in 1974 and 1982, but the decades since have been lean.