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Aleksei Kulbakov 2008.JPG

Aliaksei Kulbakou[1] (Belarusian: Аляксей Кульбакоў; born 27 December 1979 in Gomel[2]) is a Belarusian football referee, FIFA-licensed and UEFA first group referee. He is the only Belarusian official who regularly takes part in the group stages of UEFA club competitions.

Kulbakov started his refereeing career very early - at the age of 16. He went through all Belarusian divisions quite quickly and has officiated his first top league match in Belarus in 2003 when he was only 23. It happened quite often those times that Kulbakov was the youngest man on the pitch. Alexey became a FIFA-licensed referee just two years later, in 2005, at the age of 25 (minimal possible age for FIFA referees).

His debut in international A-team level took place 12 September 2007 when Cyprus won 3-0 against San-Marino in EURO 2008 qualifier. In 2008, he was selected as one of the 19 participants of the UEFA Talents and Mentors program for perspective European referees. During next two years (2008 and 2009) in the framework of this program Alexey officiated all his UEFA matches under supervision of the same referee observer Andreas Schluchter from Switzerland. Starting from the season 2009/2010 Kulbakov regularly officiates matches in the UEFA Europa League group stage. His first match at this level took place 17 September 2009 CFR Cluj won 2-0 against København in Cluj-Napoca.

He is also in charge in A-team international matches, including 2010[3] and 2014 World Cup qualifiers[4] as well as 2008 and 2012 UEFA EURO qualifiers.

Kulbakov has missed the first half of 2013 national championship due to injury. In June 2013 Kulbakov together with other 5 referees was selected to officiate the final tournament of UEFA U-19 EURO 2013 which took place in Lithuania in July 2013.

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