Despite attending a far-right conference, Polish referee Szymon Marciniak will be permitted to oversee the men’s Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan, according to UEFA’s announcement on Friday.
Marciniak’s presence at the “Everest” event in Katowice on Monday was brought to the notice of the European football body by a Polish organisation that opposes racism and anti-Semitism called Nigdy Wiecej, which translates to Never Again.
In a statement, Marciniak claimed that he had been “gravely misled and completely unaware of the true nature and affiliations of the event in question” when he accepted the invitation.
“I was unaware that it was connected to a right-wing extremist movement in Poland. I would have politely refused the offer if I had known this, he continued.
In light of his justification, UEFA stated that “Mr Marciniak will fulfil his role as the referee for the 2023 UEFA Champions League final.”
Istanbul will host the championship on June 10.
“Unambiguously rejects the values promoted by a group associated with this conference,” UEFA declared.
The World Cup final between France and Argentina was also overseen by Marciniak, who also said: “As a professional deeply committed to the game of football, I want to emphasise my unwavering support for the values championed by UEFA, particularly inclusivity and respect for all individuals regardless of their background.”
Additionally, he expressed his regrets “to the clubs, players, fans, colleagues, officials, and organisations who place their trust in me.”
Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, backed Marciniak on Twitter, writing: “He is the best referee in the world and ensures that this respect is shown on the pitch and in life.”