Szymon Marciniak remains referee of the Champions League final. On Friday, UEFA confirmed the appointment of the Pole, who had come under criticism for attending an event hosted by a right-wing politician. The European Football Union investigated allegations of racism and has now announced that Marciniak has apologized for attending the Katowice event.
The core issue is Marciniak’s participation in an event hosted by politician Slawomir Mentzen from the right-wing nationalist and Eurosceptic Konfederacja party. Mentzen is considered the new face of the party. “We don’t want Jews, homosexuals, abortion, no taxes and no EU” – this is how he summarized his party’s program in 2019. The anti-racism association “Never Again” had asked the Poles to distance themselves from “right-wing extremist activities”.
“Fairness and respect first”
Speaking to the Przeglad Sportowy newspaper on Thursday evening, Marciniak said that as a long-time referee, “fairness and respect for others always come first and I want to pass those highest values on to others”. He distances himself “always from racist, anti-Semitic and intolerant statements”.
Manchester City and Inter Milan will meet in the Champions League final on June 10 in Istanbul. Marciniak (42) is considered one of the top referees in world football, at the last World Cup in Qatar he officiated the final between Argentina and France.
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