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Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:33

What to expect from tonight's referee

After his controversial appointment, PortuGOAL profiles Cüneyt Çakir

cuneyt_cakir.jpgThere are only a few hours to go until Portugal take on Spain in the first semi-final of Euro 2012, with fans and neutrals alike hoping for an absorbing game. Yet much of the pre-match discussion has centred on the man who will take charge of tonight’s Iberian clash. So, why the controversy, and what can we expect from tonight’s referee?

Yesterday it was announced that Turkish official Cüneyt Çakir would be the man in the middle for tonight’s semi-final in Donetsk, a decision that has reportedly left the Portuguese Football Federation “outraged and disgusted”.

Numerous Portuguese newspapers, including A Bola and Record, have alleged that his selection proves the close relationship that exists between Angel Villar, President of the both the Spanish Football Federation and UEFA Referees Committee, and Senes Erzik, the Turkish vice-chairman of the same committee.

It could certainly be argued that the appointment is a surprising one given that this is the first time that Çakir, who at just thirty-five years old is the youngest referee in Poland and Ukraine, has gone to a major international tournament.

However, while tonight represents Çakir’s most important task to date, the Turkish referee is no stranger to high-profile games. Having started refereeing in 2001, Çakir is often entrusted with the fiery derbies between Besiktas, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray in his homeland. 

This season he has taken charge of teams such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the Champions League, as well as the second leg of the semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea when he made the brave decision to show John Terry a deserved red card for a knee in the back on Alexis Sanchez.

Portuguese fans may remember him from recent matches including Benfica’s 2-2 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Porto’s 2-1 home loss to Manchester City in the Europa League and the Selecção’s 1-0 victory over Norway during qualifying for this tournament.

Over the years Çakir has gained a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian who referees matches by the letter of the law, with a zero-tolerance approach to persistent fouling and time wasting. He is certainly not afraid to get out his little black book, having shown an average of nearly five yellow cards per game this season.

At this tournament he has taken charge of the group games between Ukraine & Sweden and Italy & the Republic of Ireland, during which he dished out nine yellow cards and one red, shown in the dying seconds to Ireland’s Keith Andrews for a soft second bookable offence.

His appointment for tonight’s game has been lauded in his native Turkey, with the country’s press expressing their pride for Çakir’s achievements as he continues to distinguish himself as an international-class referee.

Here at PortuGOAL, we wish him all the best for what will no doubt be a highly-charged match. One can only hope that his name does not dominate the headlines in the aftermath of the game as much as it has done beforehand.  

by Tom Clee
Comments (15)
15 Thursday, 10 July 2014 01:32
Cüneyt Cakir is corrupt and must have taken money from south american mob for his disgusting actions in netherlands - argentine. despicable.
Good ref
14 Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:45
The referee was in full control of the game and did not let big name players influence him. His worthy of a major final one day.
13 Thursday, 28 June 2012 01:17
This referee reminded me of the amateur performances we usually see in the WC from non-European refs.

Good refs are invisible, bad ones look for the camera at every opportunity. This one had more camera time than most of the players!
12 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 19:45
Respect. Say no to Racism. Fair Play. Are you kidding? What a bunch of hippocrites!
11 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 18:32
Good Luck Portugal, go out & play hard & WIN WIN WIN!!!! Boa Sorte!!!!
10 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 17:14
Nothing to worry about...
9 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 17:02
...let's not start looking for excuses and someone to blame already. This guy will do a good job and we'll be fine. Have faith!
Nothing to worry about...
8 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:49
...let's not start looking for excuses and someone to blame already. This guy will do a good job and we'll be fine. Have faith!
7 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:46
@VoR - The problem with this ref appointment is that it could result in Portugal being screwed regardless of how well they play. In these cases, it doesn't matter how the teams reacts to the pressure and even if they go up a goal. If there is corruption or even a hint of bias, it is likely to work against you.

But I will put my pessimism aside for now and give this Turkish ref the benefit of the doubt. If he refs fairly and our boys step up today, I see no reason why Portugal can't make it to the final.
6 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:29
This type of thing should never happen. It doesn't help the reputation of UEFA or European football when questioable appointments like this are made. UEFA need to do a better job of ensuring that referees are as impartial as possible. They have failed to do that in this case. To me it shows that UEFA are not serious about preventing conflicts of interest with their appointments. This type of thing shouldn't be happening at any level, least of all in the semi-final of a major international tournament.

I'm not sure how far off an average of five yellows per game is from the average for all referees, but that seems really high to me. I hate to say it, but with a record like that, I could easily see this game turning into an 11 v 10 on a questionable call or two. Here's hoping I'm wrong.
the ref...
5 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:09
UEFA have really screwed up here. If they wanted to give Çakir a semi, then why not tomorrow.

Any dubious decision in favour of spain will only serve conspiracy theories. Not only does it put our team chances in doubt, as I'm sure by now the players will be aware of the controversy, but it is also not fair for Çakir himself.

To be honest, apart from the opening game & the shocking no-goal for the Ukraine the refs have been pretty good. No one was talking about them until this, lets hope that remains to be the case.

Anyway, based on nothing other than the tournament is due a shock, I think we may just do it tonight. If not, lets remember what was being said when the draw was made & after the first two games, drop Ronaldo if I recall. In the last four, I'd have taken that after the Germany game.
More motivation
4 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:31
We can wring our hands all we want, we can speculate as to what will happen, and the Federation can express their displeasure - the only thing that matters really is how Bento and the team react.

I think Paulo has shown everyone that he is a master motivator - much in the way Mourinho uses things like this to foster an "us against the world" attitude - Bento could use this to spur the team on to attack and take the ref's influence out of the game.

The appointment can distract us - but I'm sure it won't distract Bento or the team. If they come out and score first, they can take the referee out of the game.

Let's use this as an obstacle to be overcome, rather than an excuse for "glorious failure" before the game.

@ Tom K - still laughing at the line in the podcast, you may another fifty or sixty people checking out the site today and the podcast on my recommnendation for the panel's predictions on today's game.

Guys, Victor has a feeling we are going to do this - I'm going with Victor's gut on this one. Damn Tom K and his prediction for "glorious failure".

Gentlemen, this is a great day - the eyes of the world will be on our crest!

3 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:24
please dont let the ref ruin this for us
12 vs11
2 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:11
Well great...spain will 12 players tonight.I hope I am wrong.
Don't forget
1 Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:59
When he took charge of the second semi final between Chelsea - Barcelona he awarded Uefalona a penalty after Fabregas dived in the box. Having already been down to 10 men, it would have killed off the match. Luckily, Messi missed the target.

See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hkwhyayUlo

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