Who is Champions League final referee Szymon Marciniak & why was UEFA considering dropping him at the very last moment due to far-right controversy?

20221215 Szymon MarciniakGetty Images

The Champions League final takes place on June 10th, with Manchester City set to meet Inter Milan at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkey. However, there were rumblings that UEFA may choose to remove Marciniak from the game after he spoke at an event organised by a far-right politician.

In this article, GOAL explores exactly what happened, why UEFA considered removing Marciniak, and who he is.

Who is Szymon Marciniak?

NameSzymon Marciniak
Date of birth7 January 1981
Place of birthPlock, Poland
Article continues below

Who is part of Szymon Marciniak's refereeing team?

Marciniak will have Pawel Sokolnicki and Tomasz Listkiewicz as his assistants in the Champions League final. Istvan Kovacs will serve as the fourth official.

Tomasz Kwiatkowski has been assigned as the Video Assistant Referee, and he will be aided by Bartosz Frankowski and Marco Fritz.

Which matches has Szymon Marciniak refereed?

May 17 2023Manchester City 4-0 Real Madrid (5-1 aggregate)UEFA Champions League Semi-FinalFive yellow cards issued
April 18 2023Napoli 1-1 AC Milan (1-2 aggregate)UEFA Champions League Quarter-FinalFour yellow cards issued
March 14 2023Porto 0-0 Inter Milan (0-1 aggregate)UEFA Champions League Round of 16Five yellow cards, one red card issued
December 18 2022Argentina 3-3 France (4-2 penalties)World Cup FinalEight yellow cards issued
December 3 2022Argentina 2-1 Australia World Cup Round of 16Two yellow cards issued

Why did UEFA consider dropping Szymon Marciniak from the Champions League final?

The referee spoke at an event organised by far-right Polish leader Slawomir Mentzen.

The event was named 'The Everest Business Conference' and took place in Katowice on May 29.

Mentzen is the co-chairman of the Confederation Party and has previously made anti-Semitic and homophobic statements, picking out Jewish and LGBTQIA+ people as groups his party "stand against".

UEFA investigated the incident and have chosen to keep Marciniak in his role, after he apologised. Meanwhile, the anti-racism association Never Again requested that he remain in his role, claiming that "removing him would undermine the promotion of anti-discrimination".

What has Szymon Marciniak said about the controversy?

Marciniak has issued an apology for any offence caused.

He said in a statement on UEFA's official website: "Upon reflection and further investigation, it has become evident that I was gravely misled and completely unaware of the true nature and affiliations of the event in question. I had no knowledge that it was associated a Polish extreme-right movement.

"Had I 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 entirely contrary to my personal beliefs and the principles I strive to uphold in my life. I am deeply remorseful for any perception that my participation may have contradicted them.

"I wholeheartedly condemn any form of hate, discrimination, or intolerance, as they have no place within the sport or society as a whole. Moving forward, I pledge to be more vigilant in scrutinising the events and organisations with which I associate myself. I am committed to learning from this experience and ensuring that such lapses in judgment do not occur in the future.

"Lastly, I extend my sincere apologies to the clubs, players, fans, colleagues, officials and organisations who place their trust in me. I fully comprehend that my actions have had repercussions beyond personal disappointment, and I am fully prepared to accept any consequences resulting from my ill-advised participation."