Polish assistant referee Tomasz Listkiewicz spoke about the controversial penalty kick situation in the Portugal - Serbia match. The players and the coach of Portugal were very upset that referee Szymon Marciniak changed his penalty kick decision. “There is no point in lying; we made a mistake”, said Marciniak’s assistant in an interview with Onet.
In the 73rd minute, Antonio Rukavina played the ball with his hand in his penalty area. Szymon Marciniak initially awarded a penalty kick, but then he changed his decision. The referee was criticized, among others, by Cristiano Ronaldo, who said “It was annoying, because the team did everything to win: created situations, played better, but the goal would not come. In my opinion, the referee should have awarded a penalty kick. For God's sake! The assistant referee is 40 meters away from the situation and makes the decision for the main referee? It seems strange to me. Unfortunately, such situations happen in football, but they should not happen”.
Marciniak's assistant, Listkiewicz, explained in an interview with Onet: “We made a mistake; it was necessary to award a penalty kick, because in accordance with the rules that was a handball offence. When attempting to cross, the hand set at such an angle is to widen the body surface and cover the space. The difficulty consisted in the fact that the ball deflected from the head, which in some situations changes the interpretation, but here the hand was in this position from the beginning. The fact that the ball hit the head first does not change the interpretation”. Did Marciniak change his decision due to the "intervention" of one of the assistants? “I cannot reveal all the details, but I can say that it was Szymon's decision. It does not matter, however, who would take it; the final result counts, as we always win as a team and we lose as a team. Marciniak is fully responsible for this decision, he told us, the observer and coach Fernando Santos. I know it is easy to say, but it is the life of referees that mistakes sometimes happen. There are no referees who never make mistakes. We saw the error right after the match. In the locker room there was a TV set, when we entered, we watched replays”, says Listkiewicz. After the match there was a conversation between Marciniak and the coach Fernando Santos. "They have their analysis, Santos knew right away we were wrong, so there was no point in hiding the error. It was a normal verbal exchange, not an argument with screams or insults. We are always ready for a sincere, substantive conversation, the more so because we are for footballers, coaches and fans, so that the matches take place in a specific order. We do not have problems with acknowledging the error, we will not lie to reality. We analyzed the match for several hours and this is not the end. We will try to draw conclusions, so that such situations will not happen again”, emphasized Listkiewicz. “Everyone wants to make as few mistakes as possible. We managed to reach a high level, we are on the candlestick, so mistakes hurt twice, after such situations a lot of criticism falls on us. We were mad when we saw right after the match that we have made a clear mistake. For a few days, everyone is experiencing it”, said Marciniak’s assistant. In the Euro 2020 qualifiers, the referees do not have the VAR system to help. “It is normal that various support is provided in various competitions. We judge on the pitch as if it was not VAR. The system is, however, a great protection in this type of disputable situations”, finished Listkiewicz.