Referee Pavel Cristian Balaj bio

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Balaj, the referee of the moment


Cristian Balaj seems to be doing well for himself, not only in Romania, but in Europe too. At the time of writing he is listed as a second class category referee by UEFA, but is 'under observation' and has a great chance to be promoted coming summer. Balaj is well-known for his style; he allows the game to flow freely, but he is very tough when it comes to nasty fouls.

ref of the year
In 2008 Balaj was named "Referee of the Year" by the Romanian Referee Comission.
(thanks to Nicu Badescu)

big 4
Since 2000, the year he was promoted to the Romanian First Division, he lead 10 matches between the Romanian Big Four (Steaua, Dinamo, Rapid, CFR Cluj): one Steaua - Dinamo match, three Dinamo - Rapid matches, 3 Steaua - Rapid's, two CFR Cluj - Steaua encounters and one match with Rapid and CFR Cluj as the protagonists.
At the time of writing (June 2009) Cristian had 160 matches to his name in the Romanian First Division.
(thanks to Nicu Badescu for this information)

Balaj was a 'Premier Development Category' referee which meant he had a chance to move up to become an Elite ref, but at the start of season 2011-2012 he went back to the 1st category.

Balaj got his first Champions League group stage match in September 2010.

Balaj has been around for quite some years, but never really got his feet on the ground into Champion League matches, but he got very experienced in Europe League matches. There must be something wrong with his lobbying skills or probably worse the quality of the Romanian Football Association to push this highly regarded referee.

From our reporter: Edvard Kotayk