Belfast Telegraph

Chris Baird's dismissal against Hungary was right call rules chief

By Stuart McKinley

The Irish FA have been told by football's rulemakers that referee Cuneyt Cakir was right to send off Northern Ireland's Chris Baird in Monday night's 1-1 draw with Hungary.

The Turkish official stunned Windsor Park with a somewhat bizarre decision as he dished out two yellow cards, followed by a red, in the space of just a few seconds.

That left Michael O'Neill's team trying to fight back from 1-0 down with just 10 men for the final nine minutes, which they did thanks to Kyle Lafferty's late equaliser.

O'Neill, like most people inside the stadium - as well as those at home - questioned the legitimacy of the decision after the match, particularly as Baird had no idea he was facing a first yellow card when he made the tackle for which he received the second.

Cakir, who refereed last season's Champions League final in which Barcelona defeated Juventus, did act within the rules.

Lukas Brud, secretary of rule-making body the International Football Association Board, of which the IFA are members, was at Windsor.

He explained to the IFA: "The rule says the referee may play advantage whenever an infringement or offence occurs and if the offence warrants a caution it must be issued at the next stoppage.

"It adds that, unless there is a clear advantage, it is recommended that the referee stops play and cautions the player immediately. If the caution is not issued at the next stoppage it cannot be shown later.

"Officials are reminded that playing an advantage for a cautionable offence runs the risk that the offending player may commit a second cautionable offence."

Baird will now serve an automatic one-match suspension when Greece visit Belfast next month.

Conor McLaughlin and Kyle Lafferty will also miss that game after accumulating three yellow cards during the campaign.

The Greeks will be without Roma defender Kostas Manolas - a former team-mate of Roy Carroll at Olympiakos - after he also picked up his third booking in their 0-0 draw with Romania.

Belfast Telegraph