Syzmon Marciniak will remain as referee for the Champions League final after UEFA received their ‘deep apologies and clarifications’ over his speaking out at an event with a far-right leader in Poland .
Marciniak was appointed to referee Manchester City’s clash with Inter Milan in Istanbul last month but there have been calls for him to be replaced after news broke of his involvement in the ‘Everest’ event.
Polish anti-racist group Never Again claimed that Marciniak both promoted and participated in the conference organized by one of the leaders of the far-right Confederation alliance Slawomir Mentzen in Katowice.
The Polish referee was one of the keynote speakers at ‘Everest’ and Marciniak’s appearance featured prominently in materials promoting the event.
Although billed as a conference for entrepreneurs, opponents say the event – which took place on Monday – instead provided a platform for Mentzen’s political agenda.
Szymon Marciniak will stay on as Champions League final referee after UEFA review
Marciniak, left, was pictured at an event hosted by far-right politician Slawomir Mentzen
Marciniak has been listed as a keynote speaker on the conference website in Katowice
Never Again claimed that Mentzen’s political slogan was: “We oppose Jews, homosexuals, abortion, taxes and the European Union”.
But UEFA announced on Friday that they were satisfied with Marciniak’s apology, as well as the details provided by the referee about his involvement in the event.
Never Again agreed, going back on their previous calls for his removal by asking the official to stay in his role.
Marciniak shared his “deepest apologies” following UEFA’s decision, stressing he had “no knowledge” of the event’s connection to Poland’s far-right.
“I hope this statement reaches everyone involved, especially those people who were rightly alarmed and disappointed by my participation in the ‘Everest’ event held in Katowice on May 29, 2023,” the apology began. . “I would like to express my deepest apologies for my involvement and any distress or harm it may have caused.
“Upon further reflection and investigation, it has become apparent that I have been seriously misled and completely oblivious to the true nature and affiliations of the event in question.
“I didn’t know he was associated with a far-right Polish movement. If I had 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 completely contrary to my personal convictions and the principles that I strive to uphold in my life. I am deeply sorry for any perception that my participation may have contradicted them.
The referee reiterated his commitment to UEFA values, including inclusiveness and respect for all.
“These principles are at the very heart of the spirit of football and correspond perfectly with my personal beliefs,” continued Marciniak. “Furthermore, I unreservedly condemn any form of hatred, discrimination or intolerance, as they have no place in sport or society as a whole.
“I would also like to highlight my commitment to fighting 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 responding to an incident. serious discrimination in a match in Poland.
“Going forward, I pledge to be more vigilant in reviewing events and organizations with which I associate myself. I pledge to learn from this experience and ensure that such mistakes of judgment will not happen again in the future.
“Finally, I extend my deepest apologies to the clubs, players, supporters, colleagues, officials and organizations who have placed their trust in me. I fully understand that my actions have had repercussions beyond personal disappointment, and I am completely ready to accept all the consequences resulting from my misguided participation.
Ahead of UEFA’s decision, Marciniak made his first public statement to Polish media Przeglad Sportowy Onetclaiming he was for “fair play and respect”.
“As an international football referee for many years, I have always put fair play and respect for others first and want to pass on these highest values to others,” Marciniak wrote.
Marciniak previously oversaw Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid
“I have 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 argue that the most important thing is to be a good person.
Never Again co-founder Radal Pankowski previously called on the referee to apologize, saying his presence was “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 fundamental values of fair play such as equality and respect.”
The June 10 final will be the first Marciniak has officiated in his career, having captained eight Champions League games this season.