Viktor Kassai, the most successful Hungarian football referee of the last 20 years, suddenly decided to retire.
Kassai, aged 44, is originally from Tatabánya and started off his career in 1990. He got his first job in the top flight of Hungarian football in 1999. He has since broken the record of Zsolt Szabó, totalling 323 games in the Hungarian first division. His top jobs included the 2008 Olympic final in Beijing, the Germany vs Spain semifinal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the UEFA Champions League Final in 2011. In the same year, IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) elected him the world’s best referee. In 2016, he was the fourth official of both the EURO and the Champions League finals.
At the Euro 2012, he wrongly annuled a goal for Ukraine (due to one of his assistants advising him to do so) at their crucial game against England, introducing a debate on the need for goal-line technology. Interestingly, at the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, he became the first referee to award a penalty after viewing a video replay.
In connection with his retirement, he said that “I spent twenty years on the Hungarian frontline, at the international level I basically achieved everything I could hope for. Three decades is a long time. I decided to start a new era in my life. I don’t want to get away from football though, I have been studying sports management and I hope that I can be successful in that field as well.”
Sports daily Nemzeti Sport, in reference to Russian media information, speculated that he might be up for the leadership of Russian football referees. Kassai, however, denied any such information.
featured image via Viktor Kassai- Facebook