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UEFA have confirmed that Szymon Marciniak will referee the Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan despite claims the Polish official spoke at a networking event organised by a far-right politician.

The governing body of European football opened an investigation into the claims but they have now confirmed the 2022 World Cup final referee will remain in charge of the final in Istanbul.

UEFA said in a statement on Friday: “UEFA has diligently investigated the allegations surrounding Szymon Marciniak’s participation in an event organised in Katowice on 29 May 2023.

“These allegations are taken with utmost seriousness by UEFA and the entire football community as we unequivocally reject the values promoted by a group linked to this conference. Yesterday, we committed to gathering all relevant information and sought urgent clarification on this matter.

“After conducting a thorough review, we have received a statement from Mr. Marciniak expressing his deepest apologies and providing a clarification regarding his involvement in the event. We believe it is crucial to share his statement to address the concerns and ensure transparency.”

Marciniak has apologised and offered clarification on the matter.

He wrote: “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 (with) 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.

“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. These principles lie at the very core of the spirit of football and align seamlessly with my personal beliefs. Moreover, I wholeheartedly condemn any form of hate, discrimination, or intolerance, as they have no place within the sport or society as a whole.”

The Guardian reported that Marciniak spoke at an event organised by Slawomir Mentzen, the leader of Poland’s Confederation party.

Mentzen infamously claimed in 2019, when addressing a rally of the Confederation, that “we stand against Jews, gays, abortion, taxation and the European Union” would be an efficient slogan for the party to adopt. He also produced a beer in 2021 named White IPA Matters, which mocked the Black Lives Matter movement.

Marciniak is one of UEFA’s most senior officials. The 42-year-old is considered to be one of the best referees in the world.

The Champions League final between City and Inter takes place on Saturday, June 10.

(Photo: Getty Images)



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