• Champions League

Turkish FA denies Cakir defence of Nani red card

ESPN staff
March 8, 2013
Cuneyt Cakir surprised many by sending off Nani at Old Trafford © AP

The Turkish FA has insisted the referee who sent off Nani during Manchester United's 2-1 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid at Old Trafford on Tuesday, has not given any interviews defending his decision.

Cuneyt Cakir was quoted in the Spanish press claiming he had made the right decision.

But a statement on the Turkish FA's website said: "After refereeing the UEFA Champions League match Manchester United v Real Madrid, in some social media sites, local and foreign press it is mentioned that there are interviews with and comments made by Cuneyt Cakir and that he is receiving death threats.

"Our referee Cuneyt Cakir has not given any interviews to journalists because of the [UEFA] rules, and also does not have any accounts on Facebook, twitter, etc.''

In an interview published in AS on Friday, the Turkish official was quoted as denying claims of anti-English bias and insisting his decision had been correct.

Cakir was quoted as saying: "I feel fine and do not doubt my decisions. The red card for Nani was correct. The world will realise the truth in time."

Some in the UK had claimed an anti-English bias from the referee, who sent off Chelsea's John Terry against Barcelona in last season's Champions League, the same club's Gary Cahill in December's World Club Cup final, Manchester City's Mario Balotelli against Dynamo Kiev in the 2010-11 Europa League and England's Steven Gerrard against Ukraine at Euro 2012.

But the interview quoted Cakir as saying: "In the previous games with English teams, none of the decisions were unfair. Which decision was incorrect? The red for Terry or Balotelli? I believe I was not mistaken to show the cards and send them off."

AS also reported him claiming that despite being at the centre of controversy over what happened at Old Trafford, it was not affecting him and he added: "It does not provoke a feeling of unhappiness for me. I do not think about it.

"I received many criticisms at other times, but I have always lifted myself up and carried on. I can do it again. I try and do my work correctly, and I am on a good path. I must keep going like this. I do my work perfectly."

Cakir's performance has also been criticised by pundits in Spain, but the AS story reported a claim from Turkish daily Milliyet that Cakir's performance at Old Trafford had been given a mark of 8.2 out of 10 by UEFA's official refereeing observer Pierluigi Collina.

Collina reportedly commended the decision to send off Nani, while saying Rio Ferdinand should also have been shown a red card for his vehement protests at the end.

On Thursday, a UEFA spokesperson publicly backed Cakir and stressed that he would remain on the governing body's list of Champions League officials.

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