Who is Szymon Marciniak, referee for 2022/23 Champions League Final: Man City vs Inter?
The teams from Manchester and Milan will meet in Istanbul with a recently investigated UEFA official in charge of keeping them within the rules.
It’s almost time for the 2022/23 Champions League Final and Polish referee Szymon Marciniak will be the man with the whistle as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City go in search of the club’s first ever European Cup, while Inter Milan target a fourth crown. Marciniak remains as the referee for this game, despite speaking at a business event organised by far-right leader Slawomir Mentzen.
The 42-year-old was investigated by UEFA after it emerged that he had attended the Everest business conference in Katowice, Poland in May. European football’s governing body announced the conclusion of their investigation, saying that they “unequivocally reject the values promoted by a group linked to this conference.”
Marciniak apologised for his attendance at the event, saying that he had been “completely unaware” of the links between the conference and Poland’s far-right Confederation party.
“I want to express my deepest apologies for my involvement and any distress or harm it may have caused,” Marciniak said in a statement.
“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.”
Why did Champions League final referee Szymon Marciniak apologise?
On Monday the Polish official was a keynote speaker at an event hosted by Mentzen, the leader of the Confederation party. The party’s political slogan is: “We stand against Jews, gays, abortion, taxation and the European Union.”
In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protest, Mentzen produced a beer called White IPA Matters, mocking the racial justice movement. The event on 29 May was initially billed as a networking event with a beer drinking session. However it appears that the event, entitled ‘Everest’, was really an attempt to boost political support for the far-right group.
When the investigation was announced, a UEFA statement read: “Uefa and the whole football community abhor the ‘values’ that are promoted by the group in question and takes these allegations very seriously.”
Marciniak is one of the world most prominent referees
The 42-year-old was named the ‘World’s Best Referee’ earlier this year by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and has officiated countless major fixtures.
He refereed in the Polish top flight in 2009 at the age of 28. He became a FIFA referee in 2011 and oversaw a Champions League game for the first time in 2012. In 2016 he was one of the referees for UEFA Euro 2016 and went on to officiate at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
After becoming a regular in the latter stages of the Champions League he was selected to referee at the World Cup in Qatar last year. On 15 December 2022 it was announced that Marciniak would referee the World Cup final between Argentina and France. He is the only Polish referee to hold that distinction.
More recently, he refereed the Champions League semi-final second leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid. After being cleared by UEFA, Marciniak will once again referee Pep Guardiola’s side as they look to win the Champions League for the first time in their history.