Manchester City and Inter face off next Saturday in the Champions League final in Istanbul, Turkey. Uefa has previously selected the Pole Szymon Marciniak, 42, to referee the match, and with around a week until the final, the referee is in a bad mood.
The AP news agency reports on Thursday that “Never Again”, which is an anti-racist organization in Poland, called on Marciniak to distance himself from right-wing extremism. The reason is that, according to the organization, Marciniak “promoted and participated in a recent event organized by far-right Polish politician Slawomir Mentzen”.
– We are shocked and horrified by Marciniak’s public connection to Mentzen and his brand of toxic far-right politics, Never Again co-founder Rafal Pankowski said in a statement according to the AP.
– It is incompatible with the basic values of fair play, equality and respect, he continues.
According to the English newspaper The Guardian, the politician Slawomir Mentzen is known to have launched the political slogan: “We stand against Jews, homosexuals, abortion, taxation and the European Union”. The newspaper also writes that Mentzen made international headlines in 2021 for producing a beer called “White IPA Matters” as a mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Uefa in turn responds, according to The Guardian, by saying that the association wants an urgent clarification before the Champions League final, and that a yfurther announcement will be made tomorrow, Friday after reviewing all the evidence.
“Uefa is aware of the allegations surrounding Szymon Marciniak and seeks urgent clarification. Uefa and the entire football community abhor the ‘values’ promoted by the group in question and take these allegations very seriously. A further announcement will be made tomorrow (Friday), after reviewing all the evidence,” Uefa said, according to the newspaper.
Uefa’s investigation into Marciniak’s involvement in the right-wing extremist event is said to be carried out by the head of football Zvonimir Boban, as well as by the head referee Roberto Rossetti. According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Uefa is taking the case very seriously, and the referee is said to be at risk of losing his job of officiating the Champions League final.
Last year, Marciniak judged, among other things, the World Cup final between Argentina and France in Qatar, and Real Madrid’s semi-final victory against Manchester City with 4-0 in the Champions League.