Football: Perquis tackles Tomaszewski over 'trash' tirade
Poland newcomer Damien Perquis is to launch legal action against international-turned-lawmaker Jan Tomaszewski for calling him "French trash" who did not deserve his adopted nation's shirt.
Defender Perquis, who made his debut against Germany last month, wants an apology for Tomaszewski's tirade, the news portal interia.pl reported.
The outburst from iconic ex-goalkeeper and controversial pundit Tomaszewski came amid mounting debate about the Euro 2012 hosts' selection policy, which has split the dressing room.
"Tomaszewski clearly damaged the good name of Damien Perquis," the player's lawyer Marcin Wojcieszak said.
Poland manager Franciszek Smuda said Perquis was "floored" by the attack.
Tomaszewski, 63, is a fierce opponent of picking foreign players with Polish roots, as Smuda crafts his squad for next year's European Championships.
During a rally ahead of the October 9 general election, he said he was "disgusted" that Perquis was in the team.
"How can he pull on the White Eagle shirt, the one in which we true Poles won honours. A piece of French trash, of footballing trash, who never made his mark at home," Tomaszewski said.
The term "true Pole" is common among hardline nationalists.
Perquis, 27, obtained a Polish passport in September on the grounds that one of his grandparents emigrated from Poland to France after World War I.
He plays for French first-division side Sochaux, and was capped three times for France's Under-21s.
Football's world governing body FIFA allows youth internationals to switch country relatively easily.
Perquis earned his first Poland cap in a September 6 friendly, when they came nail-bitingly close to their first-ever victory against Germany before the visitors levelled the score to draw 2-2.
Tomaszewski won a parliamentary seat two weeks ago for the conservative opposition Law and Justice party.
He is better-known abroad for heroics during a World Cup qualifier at London's Wembley stadium in 1973.
Dubbed a "clown" by the English before the game, he had the last laugh by holding the score at 1-1 and denying them a berth in the 1974 finals in Germany.
"It's a shame Tomaszewski has been turning from a footballing legend into a nasty xenophobic campaigner for the radical right," Rafal Pankowski, Poland watchdog for the Football Against Racism in Europe network, told AFP.
Poland fans pine for the glory days of Olympic gold in 1972, silver in 1976, and third place at the World Cup in 1974 and 1982.
Poland's football association began scouting abroad after criticism for losing the likes of Germany striker Lukas Podolski, born in Poland but raised in Germany.
He shone in Germany's youth squad and joined their senior side after Poland gave him the brush-off.
Borussia Dortmund and Poland star striker Robert Lewandowski recently said he has nothing against foreigners -- as long as they fit in.
"A lad who doesn't understand Polish shouldn't wear our shirt," said Lewandowski, 23.
Smuda's squad includes midfielder Ludovic Obraniak -- key to his club Lille's French cup and league double this year -- whose grandparents were also Poles.
Obraniak, now 26, played once for the French Under-21s.
He was first capped for Poland in August 2009 by Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, axed as manager that September after failing to steer his side to the 2010 World Cup.
Obraniak has now played 18 matches and scored four goals, but Lewandowski complained about his language skills.
"He started under Beenhakker. In that amount of time, anyone could master our language, if they wanted to," said Lewandowski.
© 2011 AFP