UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine

Referee Review

Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

By Adam Higgins

Chief Football Editor 

Age-  35             FIFA Referee since-  2007             Promoted to the Elite List-  2010          Turkish SuperLiga referee since 2002

Season 2011-12:      Matches-  33        Yellow cards-  157          Red cards-  9          Penalties-  8

Best game of the season:  15th March 2012        UEFA Europa League Last 16 2nd leg       Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Manchester United
                                     Venue: San Mames Stadium (Bilbao, Spain)

Our average rating from Euro 2012:  21.5/30 (7.16/10)

Euro 2012 statistics-   Matches-  3        Yellow cards-  17         Red cards-  1         Penalties-  0       Average cards per game-  6

Best game of the tournament:  Monday 18th June 2012         Group C Game Three         Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland

                                          City Stadium (Poznan)

Cuneyt Cakir has emerged as one of the brighter sparks in the world of Turkish football in which match-fixing scandals have tarred the country's well-loved sport with some of the big guns in the SuperLiga such as Fenerbache, Galatassaray and Besiktas- whom Cakir is asked to officiate on a regular basis- heavily involved in such irregularities. He is a man whose zero-tolerance and no-nonsense approach has been met with widespread acclaim in his homeland and many felt that the 2011-12 campaign was one in which we saw his best and mature side of refereeing come through which included some fiesty and stargazing fixtures- none more than the Champions League semi-final second leg between Barcelona and Chelsea at the Nou Camp. Having been earmarked as a potential official for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the insurance clerk proved that Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine- his first major international tournament as a referee- was a benchmark in his refereeing career and showed he can handle the pressure on the biggest of stages. At the age of 35, he was the youngest official at the tournament although he still demonstrated that age doesn't matter as long as a job can be fulfilled when he was appointed yet another semi-final appointment showing he is in UEFA's good books for his card-happy ways. With plenty of experience of handling fiesty rivalries such as Holland versus Germany and Fenerbache vs Besiktas, managing the co-hosts Ukraine's first match at the tournament against Sweden in Group D in Kiev looked a doddle on paper and so it proved. No notable incidents, a number of clear cut free-kick decisions and a nice flowing game of football which many didn't see coming. He stayed out of trouble from his point of view and earned respect from the players which was creditable- all the talk after the game was about the Ukranian talisman Andriy Shevchenko which speaks volumes for the way the young official's decision making didn't contribute to the outcome of the match. In the second of his three games, he brandished the tournament's third red card when sending off Republic of Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews late on for a second bookable offence against Italy which the former West Bromwich Albion man reacted to and aimed abuse towards the Turk as he left the field of play. However, the decision was correct and another assured performance in the Group C clash in Poznan ensured that UEFA kept him on as one of the eight officials for the quarter-final stage. He was appointed as fourth official for England's encounter with the Italians in the last eight phase. His biggest match and honour was being selected as man in the middle for one of the two eye-catching semi-finals. It was announced on 25th June that Cakir would oversee the first of the two matches between Portugal and Spain with the winner going through to the final. The game flew by despite going to extra-time and then penalties with no incidents to report. He looked in command throughout, issuing nine yellow cards all of which looked legitimate and most importantly managed to keep up with the play in strenuous conditions. Cakir was also in charge of electronic board duties in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev between Spain and Italy chosen as fourth official to Pedro Proenca. All in all, the tournament could not have gone much better for the man who is one of the most talked about officials among refereeing circles at present.


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