The most successful Hungarian referee of the last two decades will no longer be seen on domestic and foreign football pitches and from now on, will instead use his experience of almost thirty years in other fields.
According to mlsz.hu, Viktor Kassai gained his refereeing qualifications at the age of fifteen in 1990, and at the age of 24 he had already officiated in the NB I. He soon became recognised as one of the best referees in the country and in 2003, on the recommendation of the MLSZ Referees Committee, he became a FIFA referee.
Thanks to his persistent work and continual excellence, Kassai’s name became audible on the world stage in 2007 when he refereed three matches at the Under-20 World Cup and then even more so when he oversaw the Olympic football final in Beijing in 2008 and four matches at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa including the Spain-Germany semi-final.
In 2011, he was given his most prestigious refereeing assignment, the Barcelona-Manchester United Champions League final on May 28th, making him the youngest ever referee of European football’s premier club football event at the age of just 35. That same year, IFFHS named him the best referee in the world.
Viktor Kassai factfile:
Place and date of birth: Tatabánya, 10 September 1975
Place and date of referee examination: Bicske, June 1990
First match as linesman: Szárliget-Óbarok, June 1990
First match as a referee: Kecskéd-Vértessomló ifjúsági, October 1991
First adult match: Ászár-Császár, April 11, 1993
National referee squad member since: July 1997
First Hungarian first-division match: Zalaegerszeg vs BVSC, March 20, 1999
FIFA referee since: January 1, 2003
First international match: Plovdiv vs Eastern Slovakia, UEFA Regions Cup, October 24, 2000
Kassai has also refereed at the 2012 and 2016 UEFA European Championships and at the 2106 World Club Championship he became the first referee to use video technology.
He set a new Hungarian refereeing record in November of this year when he led his 322nd NB I match.
“I’m finishing a thirty-year career as a referee to face new challenges”, Viktor Kassai told mlsz.hu.
“I’d like to thank everyone, the (Hungarian football) federation, its leaders and my colleagues who’ve helped me during this period, because without them I would not have succeeded at what I do. I’ve spent twenty years at the top level in the Hungarian league, and internationally too,so I’ve basically achieved everything I could set to achieve. Three decades is a long time. I’ve decided to start a new era in my life. I don’t want to move away from football so I’ve been studying sports management recently and I hope that I can become successful in this field too”.
Kassai’s erstwhile assistant György Ring will retire, who has claimed to be the most successful Hungarian referee assistant in recent decades. Ring has run the line in 285 NB I fixtures and numerous elite-level international matches. In addition to the 2011 Champions League Final, he worked at two European Championships and the 2016 World Club Championships.
VIKTOR KASSAI’s INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
2005: FIFA U19 European Championship, Northern Ireland
2007: FIFA U20 World Cup, Canada
2008: UEFA European Championship, Austria & Switzerland (as a reserve)
2008: Olympic Games, Beijing, referee of the final
2009: FIFA U17 World Cup, Nigeria
2010: World Cup, South Africa. Group-stage matches: Brazil vs Korea and Uruguay vs Mexico; 2nd round: Ghana vs United States; semi-final: Spain vs Germany.
2011: UEFA Champions League final
2012: UEFA Champions League semi-final
2012: UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. Group stages: Spain vs Italy and Ukraine vs England.
2013: UEFA Champions League semi-final
2013: FIFA U20 World Cup, Turkey
2016: UEFA Europa League semi-final
2016: UEFA European Championship, France. Opening match: France vs Romania; group stages: Sweden vs Italy; Quarter-final: Germany-Italy; final: Portugal vs France (fourth official).
2016: FIFA Club World Cup semi-final
2017: FIFA U20 World Cup, South Korea
Source: MLSZ – press release