It was good to witness the performance of referee Cuneyt Cakir in the World Cup semi-final between Holland and Argentina.
Whilst watching the television and at the same time looking at our Refcam, I decided to look carefully at what I consider to be this referee’s real strength.
I am sure that on many occasions you will have witnessed his approach when controlling players and his terrific communication skills. Body language messages are powerful and form one of the important tools that the referee can use to aid control of the game.
Despite the enormity of the task of delivering a game of this magnitude, whilst inside his heart rate must have been high and with butterflies in his stomach, Cakir managed to control his and the players’ emotions. Passion and desire from footballers can be a quick excuse for dissent, lack of self control and over-aggressive play.
But Cakir’s interventions using his own body language in a positive manner paid huge dividends. I highlight the number of times he quickly imposed his authority by showing his outstretched arms with palms of the hands facing down, moving them to send out a message to the players to calm down. This was accompanied with a smile indicating that he was not in conflict.
He did this with self belief in his own ability and did you notice how he maintained eye contact with the player – avoiding staring – which can create tension?
Cakir is not the biggest referee around, but he produced a big performance, reading the game well and, like conductor Andre Previn, swished the baton using his whistle and body language to bring the performance to a satisfactory conclusion.