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Respondent footballer scores against the police

Tillysburn Park, Belfast. Saturday September 21st, 2019. After a quarter of an hour play between hosts Harland & Wolf Welders and visitors PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) Lukasz Gwiazda taps the ball into the empty net, scoring the opening goal. His successful effort could be avoided, though, if the Police Service of Northern Ireland was effective. Not the defenders of the football team, the actual policemen.

The 25-year-old Polish Gwiazda had a warrant issued for his arrest after he failed to turn up for a court appearance in Newtownards. Should the warrant be executed, Gwiazda wouldn’t have played in the match.

Gwiazda, a versatile striker who actually traveled to Northern Ireland to play for Premiership club Glentoran last season, was accused of driving while disqualified and driving without insurance or a MOT certificate. He didn’t turn up to the Ards Magistrate Court last Thursday (just two days before the match), as he declared Dufferin Avenue, Bangor as his current residence. Eventually, District Judge Mark Hamill ordered a warrant for his arrest.

It is not known whether the Northern Ireland police tried to execute the warrant and arrest Gwiazda. As anonymous sources stated, these warrants are issued by default and there’s no actual police action against them. So, the Polish striker had no fear of being arrested, unless he had bumped into another police control.

Gwiazda told the press that he just didn’t remember his obligation, as after the control he’s issued a MOT and a driving insurance. He admitted, though, that he remembered he’s something to do with the police when he showed up to the ground for the match. His abeyance didn’t motivated him to have a brilliant performance during the match, as he said he tries to give 100% of his potential at all matches.

It’s true Lukasz Gwiazda didn’t have the expected development at his career after travelling to Belfast last January. Two years ago he landed for the first time in the UK, playing for Bangor City of Wales for a period of six months. Then he crossed the Irish Sea to Belfast, to play for HW Welders. In January 2019 he was loaned to Premier League club Glentoran, but after another six month period he has returned to Tillysburn Park.

It’s rather bizarre to expect that all PSNI FC footballers are policemen as well. Some of them are actual members of the various Belfast police departments, but the majority of them are footballers who considered themselves professional or semi-professionals. The club competes at the NIFL Championship, the second tier of Northern Irish football pyramid, and was founded back in 1928 as Royal Ulster Costabulary. They changed their name in 2002, following the change in the name of the police.

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