Executive Summary: See, Hear and Make Instant Decides Fairly: Adjudicator or Android?

The scope of the study

  • Theme: Referee performance
  • # of Chapters: 4
  • # of Dashboards: 5
  • Parameters: Appearance per season, foul per game, tackle/foul, penalty per game, yellow card per game, red card per game, home win %, away win %, draw %
  • Leagues: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, England Premier League, France Ligue 1, Germany Bundesliga, Italy Serie A, Spain La Liga, Turkey Super League 

Chapter 1: Total Referee Number by League

  • La Liga and Premier League stand out as the leagues with the lowest number (20) of referees. 
  • Serie A comes to the fore by including the maximum number of referees (35-40) per season.
  • Turkey Super League stands out as the most unstable league in terms of referee amount: 40 referees in 2015-2016; 23 referees in 2017-2018.
  • The stability on total referee number (avg. 38) in the group and the final stage of the Champions League.
  • In the Europa League, the number of referees is directly proportional to the number of matches: Circa 90 referees in the group stage (144 games); 70 referees in the final stage (61 games).

Chapter 2: Appearance

  • Italian referees managed most of the games (158) in all stages of the Champions League and the Europa League. They were followed by Spanish (153 games) and German (139 games).
  • In the Europa League, referees from The Netherland, Poland, Russia, Israel, and Turkey stand at the forefront with their total number of appearances.
  • Milorad Mazic is the referee who whistles the most (40 games) in all four seasons. Serbian referee was followed by Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey) and Damir Skomina (Slovenia) with 39 matches.
  • In terms of the Champions League, Cüneyt Çakır had taken placed on the top with 34 games. (Milorad Mazic: 33 games,  Felix Brych (Germany): 32 games)
  • Cüneyt Çakır was the referee who was assigned the most to the Champions League’s final stage. Çakır is also seen as the sole Turkish referee, taking part in the Champions League over the last four seasons.
  • In the UEFA Europa League, Vladislav Bezbodorov from Russia stands out as the most whistle-blowing referee between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018. While Bezbodorov had also maintained its leadership in the group stage, Ivan Kruzliak from Slovakia was the referee who managed the most game in the final stage of the tournament.
  • In England Premier, five referees had regularly whistled in 30 games, on average. (Mike Dean and Jonathan Moss, who had served only in the Premier League as well as UEFA referees such as Anthony Tayler, Michael Oliver and Martin Atkinson)
  • The most successful leagues are the Bundesliga and Serie A in terms of balancing the burden on the referees. Felix Brych and Manuel Grafe from Germany, as well as Luca Banti and Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni from Italy, had whistled 18 games, on average.
  • Benoit Millot (36) and Mikael Lesage (43), who were two of three referees most appeared in France Ligue 1, did not take part in UEFA organizations. Likewise, Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez (44) in La Liga and Firat Aydinus (45) in Turkey Super League’s had also taken no part in UEFA Organizations despite shining out as the most assigned referees in their national leagues.

Chapter 3: League Benchmark on Certain Perimeters

Home Win & Away Win

  • Champions League: Away win ratio had increased gradually in both group stage and final stage. (27% for both stages in the 2014-2015 season; 32% for the group stage – 34% for the final stage as of 2017-2018)
  • UEFA Europa League: The share of draw games had displayed a more balanced appearance compared to the Champions League, and remained at the band of 25%.
  • Among the national leagues, Serie A was considered as the most transformed league. 
    • The share of draw games fell rapidly from 32% to 21% in four seasons.
    • Away win ratio, which was recorded as 28.5% in 2014-2015, had increased to 35% as of the 2017-2018 season.
  • Turkey Super League draws attention with the increasing share of home win and decreasing in draw rate. 
    • Home win ratio: from below the level of 45% in 2014-2015 to 50% in the 2017-2018 season. 
    • A notable and gradual decline in draw rate: from 27.4% to 22.5%.
  • La Liga stands out as the most stable league in terms of the result of games. In Spain, home teams won their games with the probability of 45%-50%, while the away team’s victory was placed at the level of 30% in each season.

Faul & Penalty

  • Most fouls were whistled in Turkey Super League among national leagues.
    • Foul per game fell from 33 to 29
    • Foul per tackle decreased from 1.0 to 0.84.
  • Premier League is the national league where referees were the most tolerant to tackle. Although foul/tackle outpaced the level of 0.60, the foul per game had improved almost all seasons and fell to 20.7.
  • Serie A and Bundesliga come to the forefront as the most improved leagues in foul figures.
    • Serie A: Decrease in foul per game and foul/tackle were 30 to 25 and 0.85 to 0.79, respectively.
    • Bundesliga: Decrease in foul per game and foul/tackle were 30 to 28 and 0.77 to 0.71, respectively.
  • Turkey Super League was the national league in which penalty per game had most increased since 2014-2015.  (From 26% to 34%)

Yellow Card & Red Card

  • The La Liga is the national league where the yellow card was given more than other prominent leagues. Despite a gradual improvement from 5.3 to 4.8, the La Liga still stands out with the highest yellow card per game figure.
  • The most progressive league in yellow card statistics is undoubtedly the Serie A. (Fell from 4.8 to 3.8)
  • Almost all national leagues and UEFA tournaments had shown significant improvements in reducing the number of red cards the only exception seems to be Turkey Super League. In 2015-2016, in addition to UEFA Europa League, the Ligue 1, the Serie A, the La Liga, and the Super Lig were above 0.20 (1 red card in every 5 games). As of 2017-2018,
    • The Europa League and the La Liga managed to gell below this level.
    • The Ligue 1 and the Serie A had approached the band of 0.20.
    • The Super League had continued to be placed at the level of 0.30.

Chapter 4: Referee Performance: Turkey Super League – Case Study

Home Win & Away Win

  • Cüneyt Çakır is the only Turkish referee who had managed games in UEFA Champions League. While he had been assigned to UEFA Europa League games, in the beginning, he had been whistling only in the Champions League since 2016-2017. In UEFA tournaments, the share of away wins is seen as very low in games managed by Çakır.
    • There was no away win in a total of 5 games in seasons of 2014-2015 and 2016-2017.
    • Away teams had not won any victory during the final stages (2 games) of UEFA Europa League in the 2015-2016 season.
  • Hüseyin Göçek is the Turkish referee who plays the most regular whistle in the UEFA Europa League. Gocek directed by Turkey Super League match in a draw ratio of 20%, while this rate was seen above 40% in UEFA Champions League, except the 2015-2016 season.
  • There are seven referees who can be called as the primary in terms of appearance figures. Along with Cuneyt Cakir, Huseyin Gocek, Halis Ozkahya, Ali Palabiyik and Mete Kalkavan, who take the field in the UEFA organizations, Fırat Aydınus and Bülent Yıldırım stand at the top of the list of referees.
  • Among top-7 referees, Cüneyt Çakır and Halis Özkahya come to the fore with high home win ratio.
    • Home teams’ win ratio, in which the games managed by Cüneyt Çakır, had shown an increase from 30% to 65%.
    • The share of home wins in the games managed by Halis Özkahya, who had whistled in 16 games with 81% of home win ratio in the 2015-2016 seasons, fell to 57% as of 2017-2018.
  • Fırat Aydınus may be the referee who away teams do not want to see on the pitch!
    • Over the last four seasons, away win ratio was at the band of 20%.
    • The ratio was realized as 16% and 17.4% in 2014-2015 and 2017-2018, respectively. (As highlighted in Chapter 3, the draws with 27.4% in the 2014-2015 season decreased gradually to 22.5% in Turkey Super League)

Foul per Game

  • Cüneyt Çakır had improved its foul per rate figures by decreasing to the band of 25 in the Champions League. However, his statistics had shown a considerable increase to 35 in the Super League.
  • In the 2016-2017 season, Hüseyin Göçek took the field in a total of 7 matches in the Europa League and made 37 foul decision per game, on average, accounting for one of the highest levels in the tournament.
  • Ali Palabıyık was assigned to 8 matches in the UEFA Europa League in the seasons of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. In both seasons, Palabıyık, who had a stable foul course, had less foul decision compared to matches in the national league.
  • Considering top-10 referees in the Super League, there had occurred a significant improvement in foul per game.
    • Fırat Aydınus, Mete Kalkavan, Bülent Yıldırım and Halis Özkahya declined from 31-33 to 26-29.
    • Hüseyin Göçek recorded an improvement from 35 to 31.
  • Ozgur Yankaya and Alper Ulusoy come to the forefront with the considerably high foul average in recent seasons, in spite of decreasing in the number of foul decisions in the last season.
  • For home teams, the number of fouls was at the band of 16-18 in the first two seasons. Following seasons, it had decreased to 14-16 level. Cuneyt Cakir was the only referee who has not experienced this downtrend.
  • The rate of the away teams was placed at the level of 16. The number of fouls whistled by Fırat Aydınus, Bülent Yıldırım and Mete Kalkavan to away teams had decreased steadily to the band of 14.


  • Cuneyt Cakir’s ratio in the Super League was around 1.00, but it fell below the 0.80 in UEFA tournaments except for 2016-2017.
  • Likewise Cüneyt Çakır, Hüseyin Göçek had also foul/tackle ratio at 1.00.  However, his ratio had decreased to 0.60 with a continuous development in the UEFA Europa League. In this downtrend, the decline in his whistles to away teams played an active role. His foul performance toward home teams had followed a similar course in the European League and the Super League.
  • Fırat Aydınus had shown a significant improvement in the aforementioned parameter and his ratio had decreased from 1 to 0.75. In addition to Aydınus, Mete Kalkavan and Bulent Yıldırım, who had the lowest foul/tackle level, had made a significant progress in this metric.
  • Cuneyt Cakir, who performed below 1.00 in the 2014-2015 season, had emerged as the only Super League referee whose rate had risen.
  • While the foul/tackle ratio was placed above 1.00 (except for Mete Kalkavan and Bülent Yıldırım) during the first seasons, the most of the referees had approached the band 0.80 over the last two years.
  • Considering away teams, half of the top-10 referees were placed above the level of 1.00 while the other half was heaped up around 1.00. As of 2017-2018 season, five referees fell below 0.80. Cüneyt Çakır is seen as the only referee staying at 1.00.

Penalty per Game

  • Over the last three seasons, no Turkish referee had made a penalty decision in the Europa League.
  • Considering Cüneyt Çakır’s penalty profile in last two seasons, there was an inverse correlation between the Champions League (decreased) and the Super League (increased).
  • Hüseyin Göçek was the most penny pincher referee in terms of penalty. Göçek’s rate remained below 0.20 except for the 2015-2016 season.
  • Özgur Yankaya and Alper Ulusoy come to the forefront as the referees in the band of 0.40-0.60 band with regards to penalty per game.

Yellow Card per Game

  • The ratio in the Super League rose to 5.00 in recent seasons, mainly driven by an increase in the number of yellow cards (approached 3) being shown to away teams.
  • Cuneyt Cakir had a stable yellow card performance with 4 yellow cards per game, on average.
  • Ali Palabıyık had shown the most significant improvement in this parameter. The average of Palabıyık, who showed 6 yellow cards per game in 2014-2015, dropped to 4 as of the 2017-2018 season.
  • Halis Özkahya is the only referee in the Super League who had consistently shown less than 4 yellow cards per game. Mete Kalkavan and Fırat Aydınus had also a relatively stable performance with the bands of 4-5 yellow card per game.
  • There was a difference of 0.1 – per game – between home teams and away teams. In other words, away teams were exposed to 1 more yellow card in nine games played each week.  

Red Card per Game

  • Fırat Aydınus, who had shown a significant improvement in the foul parameters, stands at the forefront with his downtrend in red card performance. (0.2 red cards per game in the 2014-2015 season; above 0.4 as of 2017-2018) Over the last three seasons,
    • The number of red cards that Aydınus showed to home teams decreased from 0.11 to 0.04.
    • The number of red cards that Aydınus showed to away teams increased from 0.25 to 0.39. 
  • The red card profile of Mete Kalkavan and Bülent Yıldırım remained stable in recent seasons. However, considering the card details of the two referees, the average card they showed to the home teams decreased steadily while the red card decisions they gave to away teams increased.
  • Ali Palabıyık is seen as the Turkish referee, who had the highest red card per game statistics in Super League.