Wednesday 14 December 2022, 21:00

Poland’s Szymon Marciniak to referee FIFA World Cup final

  • Final will be his third match at Qatar 2022

  • Tournament is his second World Cup after refereeing in Russia 2018

  • “I’m very proud now of myself and my team”

Polish referee Szymon Marciniak has been appointed as referee for Sunday's 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ final between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on Sunday 18 December.

Marciniak, 41, has been a FIFA referee since 2011. Sunday's match will be his third at Qatar 2022, having officiated France's 2-1 win over Denmark in the group stage and the Round of 16 clash between finalists Argentina and Australia, which the former won 2-1.

“Being the referee in a World Cup final…it’s unbelievable, to be honest. I’m very proud of myself and my team because, of course, it’s not only Szymon Marciniak, it’s a great team.

We’ve been working since forever and we are like family: we win together, we lose together sometimes”, said Marciniak, referring to his assistant referees on Sunday, Paweł Sokolnick and Tomasz Listkiewicz.

The final appointment marks an incredible turnaround for Marciniak, who recently had some health problems that are thankfully now a thing of the past.

“I had a very difficult time for the last year and a half. I had Tachycardia – it’s a heart illness. In the beginning, it was very difficult for me and I had to stop refereeing. I missed the UEFA European Championship, which for a referee, who is at their best age, it was a terrible feeling. Only I, and my team, know how difficult of a time it was for me. Now, life gives back to me and I cannot even stop smiling because it's a great feeling.”

Marciniak is refereeing at his second FIFA World Cup after appearing previously at the 2018 edition. A regular at FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Europe, he has also officiated at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup held in Qatar. Marciniak has also overseen matches in the UEFA Champions League, last season refereeing the first leg of the semi-final tie between Liverpool FC and Villarreal CF.

The Polish referee, who was a footballer before he was a referee, playing for his hometown team Wisla Plock, decided to try his hand at refereeing after being sent off in a match and being inspired by his subsequent conversation with the referee who gave him the red card.

“We spoke after the game, and he told me a very important sentence: if you think this is easy work, go and try. You will see. I was thought: why not? So, immediately I went for the course and started refereeing. I am grateful for him because if not for this red card - I would probably never have become a referee.” Meanwhile, Qatar's Abdulrahman Al-Jassim will referee the match for third place between Croatia and Morocco. The 35-year-old has been a FIFA referee since 2013, and at this year's FIFA World Cup refereed the group stage match between USA and Wales. His main achievements include refereeing the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup Final between Liverpool and Flamengo, as well as being one of the Video Assistant Referees during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.