Cüneyt Çakır, Turkey’s highest ranked football referee, was hospitalized at the halftime of a Super League game in Ankara on Nov. 23 after he told one of his assistants that he could not breathe. Çakır, who was officiating the Gençlerbirliği - Karabükspor game at 19 Mayıs Stadium, had a 20-minute surgery at the hospital due to a problem in his lungs. The operation was a success and the experienced referee is expected to be discharged from the hospital in a couple of days.
Turkish Fooball Federation (TFF) issued a message Nov. 23, wishing Çakır a speedy recovery. The referee is expected to be back in training in 10 days, the federation said in the statement.
After qualifying for the Elite Category in 2011, Çakır has been regularly assigned at top-level FIFA and UEFA competitions. The 37-year-old was assigned to three games in the 2012 UEFA European Football Championships, including the semifinal clash between Spain and Portugal. Last summer, Çakır, Turkey’s highest ranked referee, became the first Turkish referee in 40 years to officiate at a World Cup. He, alongside fellow assistants Bahattin Duran and Tarik Ongun, officiated three games in Brazil, including a semifinal match between the Netherlands and Argentina.