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World Class Hungarian Football Ref Sándor Puhl Dies at 65

Ábrahám Vass 2021.05.20.

Sándor Puhl, who was elected four times as the world’s best referee, refereed a World Cup and a Champions League final, has died at the age of 65.

The first final he supervised was the UEFA Cup final in 1993 between German Borussia Dortmund and Italian Juventus (1-3). He was mostly known for being the referee of the 1994 FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy in the United States without any major fault. Reportedly, he lost some 4.5 kilograms during the final (held in Pasadena, California, with a kick-off at 12:30 local time), which ended with Brazil’s victory on penalties.

In 1996, he supervised the England-Germany semifinal at the European Championships, after which English star Paul Gascoigne reportedly gave him his jersey as a sign of respect, despite the English defeat.

In 1997, he was appointed for the UEFA Champions League Final between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus (3-1). At one of the German goals, he rightfully overrode one of his assistant’s decisions who would have annulled the score.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) elected him the World’s Best Referee of the Year four times in a row between 1994 and 1997.

After his retirement, he held different positions in the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ), most notably serving as MLSZ’s Deputy Chairman between 2000 to 2006. Since 2010, he had been vice-chairing MLSZ’s Referees’ Committee.

Up until months before his death, he had regularly appeared on the Hungarian sports TV channel as a pundit. Although he had been recently infected with the coronavirus resulting in hospitalization, there is no information disclosed on the cause of his death.

featured image via mlsz.hu