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Offside at Bayern is the latest controversy in the Champions League for referee Marciniak after successes in the cup final
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Offside at Bayern is the latest controversy in the Champions League for referee Marciniak after successes in the cup final

GENEVA (AP) — It has been a challenging season in the Champions League for Poland’s 2022 World Cup final referee Szymon Marciniak and his support officials.

Two stoppage time decisions by Marciniak and his team – influential Bayern Munich in the semi-finals on Wednesday and Newcastle in a group match in November – have sparked refereeing controversies that are rare in elite-level competition.

Both times, the interventions of Marciniak and his team seemed to contradict the generally accepted advice that UEFA gives match officials for its matches: do not immediately stop play for too tight offside and do not penalize for handball if the ball is off a ball deviated. the player’s own body.

A “disastrous decision,” Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel said of the assistant’s quickly raised flag and Marciniak’s whistle for possible offside in a last-chance attack in the 13th minute of stoppage time. Bayern needed one goal to force extra time against Real Madrid.

Matthijs de Ligt then fired into the Madrid net which, had it been allowed, would have made it 2-2 and kept Bayern in with a chance to reach the final.

In Marciniak’s previous controversy, Newcastle coach Eddie Howe spoke of a “poor decision… hugely frustrating” as Paris Saint-Germain converted a penalty eight minutes into stoppage time to salvage a 1–1 draw at the Parc des Princes.

A win would have moved Newcastle above PSG into second place in the group standings, behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, with one round remaining. PSG eventually advanced to the semi-finals and were eliminated by Dortmund this week.

Marciniak only awarded the handball penalty against Newcastle defender Tino Livramento after being urged by his video review specialist to look at the on-field monitor. That official, Tomasz Kwiatkowski, was divested by UEFA of his subsequent Champions League match.

Kwiatkowski was also on duty in Madrid on Wednesday but never got the chance to advise on the marginal offside against Bayern as Marciniak blew the whistle to officially stop play before De Ligt could shoot.

“In the end it almost feels like a betrayal because of that decision,” Tuchel said. “The referee doesn’t have to blow the whistle. He sees us winning the second ball, he sees us getting the shot away. Whistling is a very, very bad decision. It’s against the rules and it’s a bad decision by both of them.

‘The linesman said sorry. That does not help.”

De Ligt said the assistant apologized and said: “I’m sorry, I made a mistake.”

“Whether it’s offside or not, I don’t know, the VAR can check it,” said the Bayern defender. “But if you don’t check it, how can you see it? This is a shame.”

UEFA made no comment on Thursday, in line with its policy on on-field rulings.

In November, Marciniak’s video review specialist was removed from his position when UEFA head of football Zvonimir Boban was the Croatian great who won the Champions League with AC Milan. Boban left UEFA in January in a dispute with President Aleksander Čeferin over governance standards.

Marciniak and his team were already out of contention for the handling of the Champions League final on June 1 – when Madrid play Dortmund at Wembley Stadium in London – because they were the showpiece last year. They were widely praised for their handling of Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Inter Milan and their work at the club World Cup final in Qatar.

The controversy flared days before that Champions League final when Marciniak spoke at a business meeting in Poland organized by a far-right politician.

Under pressure from a Polish anti-discrimination group working in football, and later from UEFA, Marciniak issued a statement to “express my deepest apologies” for my involvement in the event. He said he had been misled about its true nature.

“I humbly request the opportunity to make amends and regain your trust through my future actions,” the referee said last June.

Marciniak is still recognized as one of the best in the world and will return to UEFA duty at the European Championship, where Bayern’s stadium will be one of ten venues for the tournament from June 14 to July 14.

It will be a surprise if UEFA sends Marciniak and his team to Munich so quickly.

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AP football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer