Racism accusation against referee Szymon Marciniak

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A Warsaw-based anti-racism group has accused final referee Szymon Marciniak a week before the Champions League final. Does the impartial have connections to the right-wing national milieu?

Did referee Szymon Marciniak attend the event of a right-wing nationalist party?

A week before the Champions League final, UEFA is investigating allegations by an anti-racism group from Warsaw against final referee Szymon Marciniak from Poland. The association “Never Again” asked Marciniak to distance himself from “right-wing extremist activities”. Specifically, it is about an alleged participation of the referee in a corresponding event of the politician Slawomir Mentzen from the right-wing national and Eurosceptic party “Konfederacja”. Marciniak, according to the allegation, which was also reported by the English daily newspaper “The Guardian”, was even the main speaker there. Mentzen is considered the new face of the party and is very active in social networks. 

< p>“We don't want Jews, homosexuals, abortion, no taxes and no EU” – that's how he summarized his party's program in 2019. The European Football Union UEFA takes the allegations against Marciniak very seriously, the association said on Thursday evening at the request of the German Press Agency and called for “urgent clarification”. “After examining all the evidence”, a further announcement will follow. The final between Manchester City and Inter Milan will kick off on June 10 in Istanbul. 

Poland's Minister of Sport speaks of “manipulation”

Marciniak himself also commented on Thursday evening. As a long-time referee, “fairness and respect for others always come first for him and I want to pass these highest values ​​on to others,” he said in the Przeglad Sportowy newspaper. He “always distances himself from racist, anti-Semitic and intolerant statements,” said the Pole. “I always say 'stop the hate' and will promote that the most important thing is to be a good person.”

The Polish Ministry of Sport quoted Minister Kamil Bortniczuk of the national-conservative ruling party PiS as saying. “I am in contact with referee Szymon Marciniak. The denunciation case is a big manipulation.” It will contact UEFA with a statement in support of referee Marciniak, it said.

“UEFA and the entire football community abhor the 'values' promoted by the party in question, and take these allegations very seriously,” UEFA said. The 42-year-old Marciniak is considered one of the best referees in the world. At the last World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022, he officiated the final between Argentina and France.

asz/ck (SID, dpa)