WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The president of the Polish soccer federation said Wednesday that national team coach Paulo Sousa’s contract had been terminated, with Brazilian club Flamengo announcing the same day it had hired the 51-year old Sousa on a two-year contract.
Marking a controversial exit, Cezary Kulesza said the Polish federation board’s decision was unanimous and that Sousa will have to pay “compensation in line with the federation’s expectations.” The president did not specify the amount.
Kulesza on Sunday accused Sousa, a former Portugal player, of “extremely irresponsible behavior” for seeking to leave his post after receiving an offer from a club. Kulesza said at the time he had “firmly refused” the request from Sousa who wanted to leave by mutual agreement.
Sousa was hired as Poland coach in January 2021 but the team — captained by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski — has underperformed under his leadership, finishing last in its group at the European Championship in June.
Poland finished behind England in its qualifying group for next year’s World Cup in Qatar and will be in the playoffs in March.
“Hi, Brazil!” Sousa said in a video published by Flamengo on its social media channels. “I have a lot of pride and satisfaction to represent a club with the incomparable greatness of Flamengo.”
Sousa will replace Renato Portaluppi, who was fired by the Rio de Janeiro club after its 2-1 Copa Libertadores final defeat against Palmeiras in November.
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