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UEFA says Marciniak can referee Champions League final despite far-right event

UEFA says Marciniak can referee Champions League final despite far-right event

June 2, 2023 (AFP)

UEFA said on Friday Polish referee Szymon Marciniak will be allowed to officiate the men's Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan despite attending a far-right conference.

A Polish group that fights racism and anti-Semitism, Nigdy Wiecej, which means Never Again, drew the European football body's attention to Marciniak's attendance at the "Everest" event in Katowice on Monday.

Marciniak said in a statement that in accepting an invitation he had been "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," he added.

UEFA said that in light of his explanation, "Mr Marciniak will fulful his role as the referee for the 2023 UEFA Champions League final."

The final will take place in Istanbul on June 10.

UEFA said it "unequivocally rejects the values promoted by a group linked to this conference".

Marciniak, who also took charge of the World Cup final between Argentina and France in Doha last year, said: "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."

He also apologised "to the clubs, players, fans, colleagues, officials and organisations who place their trust in me".

Marciniak was defended by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who tweeted: "He is the best referee in the world and respects everyone and ensures that this respect is show on the pitch and in life."

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