Polish tennis chief denies MP's abuse allegation

  • Tennis
  • Wednesday, 23 Nov 2022

WARSAW (Reuters) - The head of the Polish Tennis Association on Wednesday denied an allegation by a member of parliament that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s when she was an adolescent and he was a coach.

"I have been the victim of baseless accusations and I intend to prove it in court," Miroslaw Skrzypczynski said about the allegation by lawmaker Katarzyna Kotula, which has caused uproar in Poland since an online news site published it on Monday.

"I have repeatedly stated and I still maintain that the recent media reports about me are untrue," Skrzypczynski said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Kotula said in an interview with Onet news portal published on Nov. 21 that she had been sexually abused as an adolescent by Skrzypczynski when he was a coach in the early 1990s.

The allegations came after another Onet piece in which Skrzypczynski was accused of using physical and psychological violence against his family and players he coached.

Onet reported that Skrzypczynski had threatened to sue the site over its first article, saying that the information it contained was not "supported by any reliable source".

The furore prompted world number one female tennis player Iga Swiatek to post a message on Twitter on Tuesday urging victims suffering any sort of abuse in life to seek help.

"What I feel I can do is to encourage you to look for help when something bad happens in sports communities and in every situation in life when there is a possibility that someone can suffer from physical violence or emotional abuse," she said.

Fellow Polish tennis star Hubert Hurkacz said on Twitter that he supported "all women and all victims of abuse".

The Polish Tennis Association is sponsored by state-controlled oil company PKN Orlen.

In an interview with the wp.pl news website, Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin, head of the State Assets Ministry which is responsible for state-controlled companies, said he was "shaken" by the allegations and was not recommending further financing of the Polish Tennis Association.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Anna Koper, Editing by William Maclean)

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