In a notable first for European refereeing, a graduate of UEFA’s Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE) had been selected to officiate at UEFA EURO 2016. Szymon Marciniak, who is 34 and a native of Plock in central Poland, has successfully made the transition from player to match official, and onto the list of 18 referees who took charge of the 51 matches in France. Having refereed since 2002, Marciniak was awarded his international badge in 2011 and in 2015 took charge of the European U-21 Championship final between Sweden and Portugal.
Marciniak’s conversion to refereeing is a unique tale. “As a player, I wasn’t the referees’ best friend,” he says. “During a match, the referee sent me off, I didn’t agree [with his decision], and I said so in not very popular words. I said that he was one of the worst referees that I’d ever met. He replied: ‘OK, if you think it’s an easy job, you try to do it.’ I told him I would – and a couple of weeks after that game, I started a refereeing course. “I met the referee who sent me off a few years later, when I was refereeing in the Polish second division, and I apologised to him because, to be honest, he had made the right decision. Now we are very good friends … He was even fourth official when I refereed an U-21 match after joining the international list”. Marciniak attended the very first CORE course in autumn 2010. His memories are happy ones, and he is grateful to UEFA Referees Committee member and senior course leader David Elleray for his invaluable guidance. “David is special to me, as a mentor and as a person,” Marciniak reflects. “He taught me so much. It was a crucial moment for me, to be given so much knowledge about refereeing at the beginning of my career”. “It was very clear right from the start,” says David Elleray of his former ‘pupil’, “that Szymon was a young man who was very keen to learn. In that sense, he’s a great role model for people because of his willingness to absorb and adjust, which I think is why he impressed us then and has done so well since”.
Source: UEFA Direct