Only a bit more than 20 hours are left until Cüneyt Çakır and his team will be walking onto the field of play followed by the two squads that have mastered the "Road to Berlin": Juventus Turin vs FC Barcelona is the task the Turkish-Swedish referee team is about to face.
Not even five or six years ago, Cüneyt Çakır was a rather unknown name at the very top of UEFA officiating. A talent for sure who had surprisingly got an appointment for the Europa League semifinal between Fulham and Hamburger SV in 2010 and thus caught our attention. But in UEFA Champions League, he only appeared in September 2010 taking charge of Rubin Kazan against, of course, FC Barcelona. Things went very quickly in the next seasons. Çakır established in the top 10 of European refereeing and ever since his UCL semifinal between FC Barcelona (again) and Chelsea FC as well as his EURO 2012 it was clear that the former insurance broker and present professional referee is material for the real peak of refereeing. He had what it takes to take charge of the kind of matches he will take charge of tomorrow quite early. Thus he also was awarded our first unofficial "The World's Best Referee 2012" award.
However, the notorious Manchester United - Real Madrid Round of 16 tie followed. Observed by Pierluigi Collina - which was read as a sign that Çakır was the candidate for Wembley final 2013 by many - he struggled in Old Trafford. Despite of some important mistakes confirmed by UEFA, it was a controversial decision and not these mistakes that made Çakır being the centre of medial attention in the aftermath of this match. As every referee enthusiast remembers, it was the Nani sending-off on which UEFA's Referee Committee never found a definite solution. Probably because there are too many good arguments for both views, supporting a yellow and specially a red card. But as modern referees seem to be measured by their degree of acceptance and even more by the question of whether they appear in the newspapers after the match, Çakır's brave red card call broke his own neck. That's the life of referees.
As in private life, too steep careers without any buckle are not always a goal to be aspired. Sometimes that's the point when the ground falls out from underneath your feet. And in fact, after having been taken out of the line of fire for several months, Çakır returned as a mentally probably even stronger referee. In 2013/2014 I personally had the impression that he was not the "old", courageous Çakır. At World Cup 2014, he showed his class though and belonged to the best (European) referees at the tournament who would have maybe deserved the final more than other officials.
In 2014/15, he showed widely convincing performances. In December, he suffered from a pneumothorax which was very likely a moment of shock for him. But he recovered well.
Specially Paris SG - Chelsea was really good and a masterclass example of calmness, body language and personality. Not faultless, but to say it in other words, nobody talked about him the day after the match. Same goes for all other matches this year. In Europa League, he got some minor matches probably serving as smaller or bigger tests, e.g. in front of Jozef Marko. Also here counts: The performances were not faultless and specially his last outing in Napoli vs Wolfsburg was not that good at all, but taking everything into consideration we can very likely expect a performance of the kind "No talk about the referee". Let's hope so.
|Team Çakır in Berlin's dressing room source & owner: UEFA|
A final remark: Of course Çakır would have never managed this step without his assistants - and in this case we are not talking about two assistants, but five teammates who have been accompanying him to almost every Champions League match in the past: Bahattin Duran, Tarik Ongun, Hüseyin Göçek, Barış Şimşek and Mustafa Emre Eyisoy. Swedish Jonas Eriksson has been rewarded for his consistently good performances over the last 2-3 seasons - it is highly probable that this will not stay his only UEFA final I dare to guess.
Çakır's club competition matches 2014/15:
UEL - QF - SSC Napoli 2:2 VfL Wolfsburg - Our Report (8.1/ / / / /) - to follow
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Göçek, Şimşek, Eyisoy. UEFA Observer: Jozef Marko (SVK)
UEL - R16 - AS Roma 0:3 ACF Fiorentina - Our Report (8.5/8.4/8.4/8.6/8.4/8.4)
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Özkahya, Abay, Satman. UEFA Observer: Jean Lemmer (LUX)
UEL - R32 - Zenit St Petersburg 3:0 PSV Eindhoven - Our Report (8.3/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.5/8.4)
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Özkahya, Abay, Satman. UEFA Observer: Adrian Casha (MLT)
UCL - R16 - Paris SG 1:1 Chelsea FC - Our Report (8.3*/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.3/8.4)
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Göçek, Şimşek, Eyisoy. UEFA Observer: Bo Karlsson (SWE)
UCL - GS - Bayern München 2:0 AS Roma - Our Report (8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4/8.4)
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Göçek, Şimşek, Eyisoy. UEFA Observer: Donald McVicar (SCO)
UCL - GS - Shakhtar Donetsk 2:2 FC Porto - Our Report (8.2/8.4/7.9/8.5/8.5/8.3)
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Şimşek, Abay, Eyisoy. UEFA Observer: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)
UCL - PLO - Athletic Bilbao 3:1 SSC Napoli - Our Report (8.2/8.7/8.5/8.4/8.4/8.4)
Çakır, Duran, Ongun, Şimşek, Abay, Satman. UEFA Observer: Zdravko Jokić (SRB)
*in revision, report to be adapted
Mark Average Çakır: 8,29
Mark Average of his teammates: tbd
Card Scoring (This Season): 22 YCs, 1 2nd YC & 0 RC in 7 matches
Card Scoring (CL/EL history): 197 YCs, 1 2nd YC & 7 RCs in 46 matches
The Complete Line-Up
06 June 2015, 20:45 CET
Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany (74.244)
Juventus Turin - FC Barcelona
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR, 1976)
Assistant Referee 1: Bahattin Duran (TUR, 1975)
Assistant Referee 2: Tarik Ongun (TUR, 1973)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Hüseyin Göçek (TUR, 1976)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Barış Şimşek (TUR, 1976)
Fourth Official: Jonas Eriksson (SWE, 1974)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Mustafa Emre Eyisoy (TUR, 1980)
UEFA Referee Observer: Hugh Dallas (SCO)
UEFA Referee Liaison Officer: Florian Götte (GER)
UEFA Delegate: Harry Been (NED)
The 3rd Team Referee Observer: Maxi R. (GER)
All the best!