Polish referee Simon Marciniak has apologised for speaking at a business event linked to a far-right politician in his homeland and will referee next week's Champions League final, UEFA said on Friday. Marciniak's appointment for the match between Manchester City and Inter Milan on June 10 was at risk after an anti-racism group in Warsaw alerted UEFA to his appearance at this week's conference.
Marciniak, who presided over the 2022 World Cup final, is considered one of Europe's leading football referees. UEFA said it accepted Marciniak's "deep apologies and clarifications" and that an anti-racist organisation - "Never Again" - had asked for the referee's position.
"I would like to express my deepest apologies for my involvement and for any distress or damage it may cause," Marciniak wrote in a UEFA statement, adding that he was "misled and completely unaware" of the incident's links to far-right party leader Sławomir Menzen. "I didn't know the conference was connected to a Polish far-right movement. Had I been aware of this fact, I would have completely rejected the invitation," he added. "I am committed to learning from this experience and ensuring that such flaws do not occur in the future."
UEFA statement concerning Szymon Marciniak: ⬇️
— UEFA (@UEFA) June 2, 2023
Marciniak also received support from the Polish government on Friday as UEFA considered banning him from next week's game in Istanbul. Polish Sports Minister Kamil Bortnichuk wrote a letter to UEFA saying Marciniak gave a 45-minute speech of a purely business-oriented, motivational and inspiring nature, and had no contact with Menzen.
Marciniak wrote on his Instagram account late Thursday that he "never supported or legitimized any single political party, organization or politician." UEFA said in a statement on Thursday that "the entire football community dislikes the 'values' promoted by the political group in question and takes these allegations very seriously."
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Marciniak also refereed for FIFA at the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship in France. He missed Euro 2020 while recovering from a heart problem after a complication of COVID-<>.
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