UEFA confirm Szymon Marciniak will officiate Champions League finals amidst political controversy

Despite calls for his dismissal, UEFA has confirmed that referee Szymon Marciniak will preside over the Champions League final in Istanbul.

Referee Szymon Marciniak has apologized for attending a far-right political event in Poland, leading to calls for his removal and a UEFA investigation.

The Polish referee was seen at the Everest business conference in Katowice on 29 May, talking to Slawomir Mentzen – the leader of the Confederation Party who is known for his anti-Semitic and homophobic positions.

However, UEFA has confirmed that he will still oversee the Champions League final in Istanbul.

Marciniak said in a statement: “I hope this statement will find its way to all those concerned, particularly the individuals who were rightfully alarmed and disappointed by my participation in the ‘Everest’ event organised in Katowice on 29 May 2023. I want to express my deepest apologies for my involvement and any distress or harm it may have caused.”

“Upon reflection and further investigation, it has become evident that I was gravely misled and completely unaware of the true nature and affiliations of the event in question. I had no knowledge that it was associated a Polish extreme-right movement. Had I been aware of this fact, I would have categorically declined the invitation.”

“It is important to understand that the values promoted by this movement are entirely contrary to my personal beliefs and the principles I strive to uphold in my life. I am deeply remorseful for any perception that my participation may have contradicted them.”

“As a professional deeply committed to the game of football, I want to emphasise my unwavering support for the values championed by UEFA, particularly inclusivity and respect for all individuals regardless of their background. These principles lie at the very core of the spirit of football and align seamlessly with my personal beliefs.”

“Moreover, I wholeheartedly condemn any form of hate, discrimination, or intolerance, as they have no place within the sport or society as a whole.”

“I also want to highlight my commitment to combating discrimination in football. I was among the first referees in the world, and certainly the first in my country, to apply the “three-step procedure” in response to a serious discriminatory incident during a match in Poland.”

“Moving forward, I pledge to be more vigilant in scrutinising the events and organisations with which I associate myself. I am committed to learning from this experience and ensuring that such lapses in judgment do not occur in the future.”

“Lastly, I extend my sincere apologies to the clubs, players, fans, colleagues, officials and organisations who place their trust in me. I fully comprehend that my actions have had repercussions beyond personal disappointment, and I am fully prepared to accept any consequences resulting from my ill-advised participation.”

“Thank you for your understanding, and I humbly request an opportunity to make amends and regain your trust through my future actions.”

UEFA released a statement also saying: “Following Mr. Marciniak’s statement, UEFA acknowledges his profound apologies and clarification.

“UEFA also reached out to “NEVERAGAIN,” an NGO affiliated with the FARE network, which raised the initial concerns about Mr. Marciniak’s involvement in the event.”

“They requested that Mr. Marciniak remain in his role as the referee for the upcoming UEFA Champions League final, firmly asserting that removing him would undermine the promotion of anti-discrimination.”

“Based on the information provided, UEFA confirms that Mr. Marciniak will fulfil his role as the referee for the 2023 UEFA Champions League final.”


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