Row over German Dual-Nationality Footballer Politician Demands Poland Strip Podolski of Citizenship

A Polish far-right politician wants Polish-born German striker Lukas Podolski, who scored both goals in Germany's 2-0 victory over Poland in the European Championship on Sunday, to be stripped of his Polish citizenship.


No cheers: Podolski didn't celebrate either of his goals against the country of his birth.
DDP

No cheers: Podolski didn't celebrate either of his goals against the country of his birth.

A Polish politician has demanded that German national team football player Lukas Podolski be stripped of his Polish citizenship, according to German media reports.

Miroslaw Orzechowski, a member of the far-right League of Polish Families, told a Polish radio station that he would take legal action if President Lech Kaczynski didn't accede to his demand, reports said.

His comments came after Polish-born Podolski, who holds both German and Polish passports, scored twice in Sunday's 2-0 German victory over Poland in the EURO 2008 European championship.

In a separate interview, Orzechowski told Polish newspaper Dziennik: "If someone performs in the colors of a foreign state, there's already a desire there to renounce citizenship. You can't say it more clearly. And the president should interpret that fact like this: that it's intentional."

Podolski made headlines in Germany because his reaction to his two goals against Poland was noticeably muted. He didn't smile or cheer and even held his head in his hands after one of the goals.

"I didn't celebrate because Poland is part of my heart," the 23-year-old striker told German television after the match. "I left when I was two, but my dad and uncle and other relatives were in the stand. You have to have some respect for the country."

Podolski's teammates and Germany's media showed understanding for his attitude. German national team manager Oliver Bierhoff said Podolski had made a "nice gesture" by refraining from celebrating. "The only important thing was that he scored two goals for us," he said.

Polish supporters at the match in Klagenfurt, Austria, also showed their respect for Podolski by standing up when the announcement came that he had been declared "man of the match."

Podolski's behavior and the media coverage of it may have helped to diffuse tensions caused by a tabloid war between Polish and German media last week.

Polish paper Super Express had angered German commentators and politicians by printing a photo montage of Polish coach Leo Beenhakker holding the severed heads of German captain Michael Ballack and coach Joachim Löw under the headline "Leo, Bring us Their Heads!"

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