In the aftermath of Manchester City’s historic triumph in the Champions League final in Istanbul, attention has shifted to the peculiar preparations undertaken by referee Szymon Marciniak before officiating the momentous match.
Marciniak, who had already overseen eight matches in the European competition last season, including City’s semi-final clashes against Real Madrid, took charge of the highly anticipated encounter. However, a recently surfaced video online has unveiled the referee’s unusual routine in the dressing room prior to the final.
Originally shared by Manchester City, the footage exhibits Marciniak practicing the act of brandishing a yellow card. Approaching what appears to be a mirror, the Polish referee confidently raises the card high in the air, rehearsing his gesture. During the final, Marciniak ended up issuing six yellow cards, including one to Simone Inzaghi during injury time, as Inter Milan made a late push for an equalizer that never materialized.
After showcasing his yellow card technique, the 42-year-old referee is seen engrossed in introspection, seemingly mentally preparing himself for the task at hand. With an estimated global audience of 450 million expected to tune in for at least part of the match, the magnitude of the occasion is not lost on Marciniak.
Accompanied by his fellow countrymen Paweł Sokolnicki and Tomasz Listkiewicz as assistant referees, along with fourth official Istvan Kovacs from Romania, Marciniak is observed engaging with his team in the dressing room. Encouraging his colleagues, he conveys a sense of readiness and enjoyment, emphasizing the importance of taking time with decisions if necessary.
The video elicited mixed reactions from fans online, with some expressing surprise at the sight of referees practicing their card displays. However, it served as an intriguing glimpse into the behind-the-scenes preparations of the officiating team.
Notably, Marciniak’s appointment for the Champions League final had undergone scrutiny, as he was accused of speaking at an event organized by a far-right leader. UEFA conducted a review and sought clarification on the allegations before allowing Marciniak to officiate the final. The referee also offered an apology to UEFA regarding the incident.
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