UEFA will KEEP Szymon Marciniak as the Champions League Final referee. The referee set to oversee the Champions League final will stay on in the role after UEFA received an apology and clarification from Szymon Marciniak after he was accused of speaking at an event with a far-right leader in Poland.
Marciniak was appointed to referee the clash between Manchester City and Inter Milan in Istanbul last month, but there were calls for him to be replaced after news of his involvement with the ‘Everest’ event broke.
Polish anti-racism group Never Again claimed that Marciniak had both promoted and participated in the conference organized by one of the leaders of the far-right alliance Confederation Slawomir Mentzen in Katowice.
The Polish referee was one of ‘Everest’s’ keynote speakers and Marciniak’s appearance featured heavily in material promoting the event.
While billed as a conference for entrepreneurs, opponents claim that the event – which took place on Monday – instead provided a platform for Mentzen’s political agenda.
Never Again claimed that Mentzen’s political slogan is: ‘We stand against Jews, gays, abortion, taxes, and the European Union.’
But UEFA announced on Friday that they were satisfied with Marciniak’s apology, as well as further clarification the referee offered over his involvement in the event.
Anti-discrimination groups were in agreement, walking back early calls for his removal by requesting the official remain in his role.
Marciniak made a public statement on his appearance after news broke that UEFA was reviewing his appointment to Polish news outlet Przegląd Sportowy Onet, claiming that he was for ‘fair play and respect’.
‘Being an international football referee for many years, I always put fair play and respect for other people first and I want to pass on these highest values to others,’ Marciniak wrote.
‘I always cut myself off from racism, anti-Semitism, and intolerance, which I show in the matches where I referee. I always say stop hating and I will promote that the most important thing is to be a good person.’
Never Again co-founder Radal Pankowski had called upon the referee to make an apology, stating that his attendance felt ‘incompatible’ with UEFA’s values.
‘We are shocked and appalled by Marciniak’s public association with Mentzen and his brand of toxic far-right politics,’ Pankowski said.
‘It is incompatible with the basic values of fair play such as equality and respect.’
June 10’s final will be the first Marciniak has refereed in his career, after taking charge of eight Champions League matches this season.