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Monday, Nov. 29

Historic Cracovia soccer team plays Chicago Thursday

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[NOV. 29, 2004]  The Cracovia soccer team returned this year to the First Division of Polish soccer after a 20-year absence. The team won the championship of the Polish league five times (1921, 1930, 1932, 1937 and 1948) and has one of the most impressive records of international presence, including matches against Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Overall, Cracovia played over 170 matches against international teams from 18 countries. Many players with the club constituted the fundamentals of Polish national teams.

Cracovia is the oldest Polish soccer club, founded in Cracow in 1906. It is very strong organizationally and a dynamically growing sports club, generally considered to be strongest brand in Polish soccer and a cult symbol for many people. It is a great contributor to the popularization of sport activities in Poland.

The long-term traditions of the club and its philosophy have won the support of thousands of devoted fans and supporters all over the world, including Pope John Paul II and many famous people from the world of culture, business and politics. For them and for many others in the 100-year history of the club, the traditional red-striped shirts worn by Cracovia players have always stood for positive emotions, youth, ambition and involvement.

Cracovia makes a difference stemming from the beginning of its existence. The ideas of democracy were at the base of Cracovia's philosophy, which made it difficult for the club to perform successfully during the communist times in Poland, when the club fell into disgrace and was destined to dwell in the lower and regional leagues for many years.

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That fate changed two years ago when one of the biggest Polish IT companies, Comarch, decided to invest in this never-forgotten myth of Polish soccer. The period of renaissance started and materialized in the fast-track comeback of Cracovia to the top flight after a 20-year absence.

The president of the First Division club is Professor Janusz Filipiak, also the chief executive officer of Comarch, which holds 49 percent of the club shares. The reason for the investment in the sports club was to reactivate a very well-known brand and to take a direct marketing advantage in the first stage on the Polish market and international markets. Investments in soccer are very popular among international telecommunications and IT companies, and this investment fit into the defined trend.

Strategic aims the club faces are qualification for the Euro Cups in the two coming years, reconstruction of the stadium and obtaining international licenses.

Cracovia, with the strong support of the Comarch company, will be further transformed into a smoothly functioning business organization and, as the most well-known soccer club in Poland, will contribute to the promotion of the ideals of social involvement, youth education and healthy lifestyle.

[News release]

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