Friday, 6 December 2019

Čeferin, Çakır and the Subjugation of Refereeing at UEFA

Aleksander Čeferin's recent interview sent the sharpest message yet that independent refereeing is under real threat; the fight is on, not only to save Cüneyt Çakır from being the fall guy of Čeferin's centralisation of power, but in so order to save refereeing itself from being sold out to business interests. 
New refereeing duo in Aleksander Čeferin's plans?
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has sent out the clearest message yet that he is an anti-referees and anti-refereeing leader of European football - and his presidency should be viewed by all refereeing people as a threat to their necessary autonomy from the business interests of big confederations.

It can't come as a surprise to anybody who watched UEFA matches with VAR in operation this year that Čeferin does not see Video Assistant Refereeing as a beneficial tool that improves the accuracy of crucial decisions. He openly described the system that he directly intervened a year ago to have in the knockout stages of UEFA Champions League as "a mess", and overtly said VAR is only used in his confederation because he doesn't want to get "killed" by teams.

He also presented a ridiculous pseudo-intellectual proposal that there should be a tolerance of "10-20 centimeters" for offsides - though one should not take Čeferin as an idiot. He said that will be confirmed once he has talked to the "refereeing division", he probably already did that anyway - who will obviously reject this nonsensical idea. That way, it is refereeing's problem in the eyes of the public, not UEFA's or Čeferin's. I guess the end goal is to turn public opinion so far against VAR that the authorities are forced to abandon it, safeguarding commercial interests.
I guess Roberto Rosetti is very appreciative of that.

Aleksander Ceferin on VAR: "Nobody knows who is deciding"

UEFA President also talked about the Slovenia - Austria game in the recent EURO Qualification cycle. Čeferin said that the referee, Cüneyt Çakır, missed a penalty for handling in that game (Mr Čeferin was clearly not listening when Rosetti explained to him the new Laws of the Game for handling, because Çakır was correct to play on in both cases). These 'penalties' not being awarded made Čeferin "mad".

It should not be forgotten that Çakır did make a crucial mistake in that game but one that the UEFA President did not apparently manage to see. Actually, considering that Serious Foul Play has become almost non-existent in UEFA, that should not surprise us! Turkish referee issued only a caution after this brutal tackle - no doubts, Çakır had to issue a Red Card.

We can reveal that after the Slovenia - Austria game, Cüneyt Çakır was removed from his provisional appointment as referee for the Borussia Dortmund - Internazionale Milano game.

If you ask me, this decision can be justified in lieu of that missed Red Card. Though, it seems a bit odd that one man is punished for missing an SFP when the modus operandi of UEFA refereeing at the moment is to do that as a matter of course. Çakır would therefore, having missed MD3/4 (and MD5) would be due an appointment on MD6.

If this does not happen, we can reasonably conclude that the decision to suspend him has been taken from above the Referee's Committee, by the person who he made "mad".

If this is the case, the position of the UEFA Referee's Committee has become untenable and all members should resign.

Cüneyt Çakır issues a Red Card in the Manchester United - Real Madrid game in 2013.
Finally, it is reassuring to know that Mr Čeferin has a good sense of irony, he said also "it's a good thing that people know now that I don't interfere (with the refereeing)". That's interesting.
It seems that Čeferin managed to forget some things: 

* That he was very unkeen that the Referee's Committee appointment of his compatriot Damir Skomina to the UEFA Champions League Final 2018 was enacted.
As we remember Milorad Mažić was appointed in the end instead, despite handling no Champions League knockout matches in that season.

* He is also very sceptical that another of his compatriots Slavko Vinčić deserves to be promoted to UEFA Elite Category.
That very much puts him in the minority, with Vinčić showing Elite level performances since years.

* He really hoped that Rosetti would appoint Stéphanie Frappart to the UEFA Super Cup.
This would also be commercially valuable for his confederation.

The current de facto situation is a UEFA Referee's Committee who does take it own decisions on a day-today basis, but at the wish of the UEFA President, he can make the committee merely a rubber stamping mechanism for the wishes of an autocratic leader. He is not interested in acting in the interest of referees or refereeing, but rather his own business interests.
He showed that time and time again.

Pierluigi Collina left his role as UEFA Chief Refereeing Officer in Summer 2018

Aleksander Čeferin's presidency puts independent refereeing at risk as he continues to undermine referees - we ask, why not go one step further and replace referees with businessmen completely?

It seems Mr Čeferin's aims are to do that in all but name. 


  1. Speaking about VAR, Croatian FA finished the education and testing of the system and sent official request to implement VAR in second part of the season in Croatian first league.
    Also delegation from Serbia was in Zagreb to ask for advice and help, so probably they plan to do it in the future.

  2. But do you really think so? But where have you lived so far? You're shocked at nothing.

  3. Well done. Brilliantly written Mikael. Full agreement with you!

  4. Is it exact information, that we will know names of EURO2020 Referees next week?

    1. Where did you get this info?

    2. On next days many important news will come!
      EURO selection, UEFA categories, new FIFA (at least for UEFA) officials for 2020

      It is your words at last post at 5 December 16:21

    3. Yes but I didn't say next week, I thought you had a specific source for that :) Still unknown when we will get these info but hopefully soon.

    From serie A game Inter - Roma.
    No VAR intervention, clear gestures by referee (I assume this was the reason for VAR's support). What do you think?

    1. Well, the arm makes the body unnaturally bigger. On the other hand it clearly was not intentional, because he could not expect the ball there and it came from his own foot.
      Therefore both decisions are supportable, and it's a good example, where the handball rules need clarification.

    2. Correct decision for me. The ball first strikes the foot and then the hand. I strongly disagree with Philipp S that the arm makes the body unnaturally bigger. When you run at a high speed and after that you try to stop quickly it is the exact way of using your arms - a little bit up in the air. That is way it is absolutely necessary according to me that the referee has been played football before starting a referee career.

  6. At least 3 yellow cards 'missed' by Craig Pawson in the first half of Everton v Chelsea by my count. 2 for Everton and 1 for Chelsea should have been given. Stamp on foot (reckless) and a reckless arm for Everton. And a raised boot with exposed studs catching opposition players foot (reckless) for Chelsea.

  7. Now penalty given in the Manchester derby to United by VAR Michael Oliver after it was missed on field by referee Anthony Taylor. Correct decision for me but again as usual there was no On Field Review. Lots of protests by City which maybe wouldn't be as much if they saw the referee taking the decision himself by looking at the replays on the pitch side monitor.

    1. I fully agree with you, Jackson
      Here is a slow-motion.

  8. Cüneyt Çakır is a very talented rock singer. He doesn't do that little thing (like Čeferin).

    10 days ago Servet Yardimci talked with Ceferin about this. I think Çakır will be assigned to this week's matches. Also, they agreed to a friendly game(Slovenia-Turkey).

    1. Well, he's a very talented football referee. And that's it :)

  9. Mikael W, it's a great article!! And it's a very sad truth that Mr. Čeferin, as the UEFA president since 2016, has been more of a disadvantage (than advantage) to his compatriots, the both referees mentioned in the article, Skomina and Vinčič in receiving their appointments (CL Final) and promotion to Elite Group (the latter one).


Thank you for writing a comment on our blog!