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UEFA has sanction club that reject Poland’s Szymon Marciniak as official referee for Champions League final

UEFA has sanction club that reject Poland's Szymon Marciniak as official referee for Champions League final

Poland’s Szymon Marciniak officiated the World Cup final in December and has been selected for the upcoming Champions League final, but has been investigated for his involvement in a far-right political event

Champions League final referee Szymon Marciniak will fulfil his duties as referee for the Champions League final on June 10 following an investigation into his attendance of an event organised by a far-right politician.

Marciniak, 42, is reported to have been a keynote speaker at an event organised by Sławomir Mentzen. Having already been announced as the selected referee for UEFA’s showpiece event on Monday May 22, Marciniak spoke at the event organised by Mentzen a week later.

Mentzen is the chairman of Poland’s right-wing populist New Hope party and is also one of the leaders of the Confederation party. He is known for coining the political slogan: “We stand against Jews, gays, abortion, taxation and the European Union ”.

UEFA make decision on Champions League final referee after speech at ‘far-right event’

Poland’s Szymon Marciniak officiated the World Cup final in December and has been selected for the upcoming Champions League final, but has been investigated for his involvement in a far-right political event Szymon Marciniak is under investigation by UEFA

Champions League final referee Szymon Marciniak will fulfil his duties as referee for the Champions League final on June 10 following an investigation into his attendance of an event organised by a far-right politician.

Marciniak, 42, is reported to have been a keynote speaker at an event organised by Sławomir Mentzen. Having already been announced as the selected referee for UEFA’s showpiece event on Monday May 22, Marciniak spoke at the event organised by Mentzen a week later.

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Mentzen is the chairman of Poland’s right-wing populist New Hope party and is also one of the leaders of the Confederation party. He is known for coining the political slogan: “We stand against Jews, gays, abortion, taxation and the European Union ”.

Anti-racist activists in Poland claim that the event attended by Marciniak, which went under the title “Everest”, was organised to gain political support, although it had been originally billed as a ‘networking event’. Marciniak, meanwhile, is thought to have spoken about his career as a referee rather than on political issues.

A statement released by UEFA on Friday confirmed he will keep his role for the final, while Marciniak said: “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.

“I want to express my deepest apologies for my involvement and any distress or harm it may have caused.” It continued: “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.”

Szymon Marciniak
Szymon Marciniak

“He added. Lastly, I extend my sincere apologies to the clubs, players, fans, colleagues, officials and organisations who place their trust in me.

His attendance at the event was originally highlighted by The Never Again Group, with the organisation’s co-founder, Rafał Pankowski, saying: “Marciniak ‘reportedly promoted and participated in a recent event organized by a Polish far-right leader Slawomir Mentzen.’

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“We are shocked and appalled by Marciniak’s public association with Mentzen and his brand of toxic far-right politics. It is incompatible with the basic values of fair play such as equality and respect.”

UEFA’s statement acknowledged The Never Again Group and their role in the investigation, adding their wish for Marciniak to continue as referee, saying: “UEFA acknowledges his profound apologies and clarification.”

“UEFA also reached out to “NEVERAGAIN,” 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.”

Marciniak is renowned as one of the best referees in the game, with his role as World Cup final referee as well as his Champions League final selection an endorsement of his officiating.

The Champions League final between Man City and Inter Milan takes place in a week’s time on Saturday June 10, and will be hosted in Turkey’s Ataturk Stadium. It will be held alongside UEFA’s anti-discrimination ‘respect’ slogan, which will be worn on the sleeve of all players and match officials, including Marciniak.

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