Szymon Marciniak has been appointed to take charge of the 2018 UEFA Super Cup between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
The Polish referee will be in the middle when the Spanish rivals go head to head in Estonia in the traditional curtain-raiser to the European campaign.
The 37-year-old, from Płock, will lead a team of officials largely from his own country for the prestigious showpiece at the Lilleküla Stadium in Tallinn.
He will be accompanied by five compatriots – assistant referees Pawel Sokolnicki and Tomasz Listkiewicz, additional assistant referees Pawel Raczkowski and Tomasz Musiał, and reserve official Radoslaw Siejka.
Ovidiu Alin Hategan, of Romania, will act as the fourth official.
The game will take place on Wednesday 15 August at 20:00 BST (22:00 local time) and will be screened live on BT Sport in the UK.
MARCINIAK’S EUROPEAN PEDIGREE
The highly-rated official has taken charge of 58 UEFA affiliated matches to date and has encountered both teams on several occasions.
He will oversee Atletico for a third time, after presiding over their 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in 2016/17 and 2-0 defeat by Galatasaray in 2015/16 – both in the Champions League.
It will be a fourth game in charge of Real Madrid for the whistler, with the previous three all played at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League.
The Pole oversaw their 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in last season’s group phase and the 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund the year before at the same stage, while he also took charge of their 2-0 victory over Roma in a last-16 second-leg tie in 2015/16.
A familiar face to British football fans, Marciniak also encountered three English clubs when officiating five Champions League matches last term.
He handled Manchester City’s 4-0 win at Feyenoord, Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Real Madrid and Liverpool’s 7-0 victory over Spartak Moscow in the group stage, before refereeing a 2-1 Juventus win over Spurs in the last-16 second-leg tie at Wembley, in which he denied the Italian side a clear penalty when Douglas Costa was felled by Jan Vertonghen.
Last season, he was named as the fourth official for the UEFA Europa League final in Lyon, which saw Atletico Madrid beat Marseille 3-0. Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers was the man in charge on that occasion.
Marciniak also fulfilled the same role for the 2016 UEFA Super Cup in Trondheim, where Real Madrid overcame fellow Spanish side Sevilla 3-2 – in a game refereed by Serbia’s Milorad Mazic.
MARCINIAK’S STRANGE ROUTE INTO REFEREEING
The experienced official had an odd path into taking up the whistle.
Starting out as a player, he was so incensed at being sent off in one match that he told the referee in a foul-mouthed tirade that he was the worst he’d ever seen.
And the official replied: “If you think you can do better – you try it!”
So that’s exactly what he did, back in 2002.
Marciniak rose through the amateur ranks to make his debut in the Polish Ekstraklasa in 2009. He become a Fifa-listed referee in 2011, which made him eligible for selection for Europa League and Champions League matches, as well as internationals.
In Poland, he has refereed the Polish Cup final in 2012/13 and 2015/16, as well as last season’s Polish Cup final.
He took charge of the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final, when Sweden beat Portugal 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw at the Eden Arena in Prague.
Marciniak, who is now one of 25 UEFA Elite Category officials, has since gone on to officiate at two major international tournaments.
He handled three matches during Euro 2016 in France – Spain’s 1-0 success over the Czech Republic and Iceland’s 2-1 win over Austria in the group stage, as well as Germany’s 3-0 victory over Slovakia in the quarter-finals.
Marciniak refereed two group-stage games at the 2018 World Cup in Russia – Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Iceland and Germany’s 2-1 win over Sweden. He was also utilised as part of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) team for four matches during the tournament.
Overall last season, he took charge of 40 games across all competitions – brandishing 153 yellow cards, sending off six players and awarding 24 penalties.
A FIRST FOR THE SUPER CUP
The UEFA Super Cup will have an unusually local feel as European champions Real Madrid take on city rivals Atletico Madrid in the first one-city meeting in the competition’s history.
Real Madrid became the first club to claim three successive Champions League titles in 2017/18, and they are now attempting to add to that with another slice of history, by becoming the first side to win three successive Super Cups. A victory in the Estonian capital would also equal the competition record of five titles held jointly by Milan and Barcelona.
Atletico, however, have never lost in this competition having won on both their previous appearances, in 2010 and 2012.
Whoever wins in Tallinn, this will be a fifth successive UEFA Super Cup for Spain, who have won eight of the last nine matches.
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