Wednesday, 1 January 2020

The Kassai Decade?

Saudi Arabia probably counts to one of the more atypical places to take charge of your final match, and with it Viktor Kassai - one of the great referees of our lifetime, there should be little doubt about that - abandoned any hope of an emotional farewell. He allowed himself a slightly teary look at the end, but that was all. It can be too easy to invent a narrative, but in blowing his final whistle so far from football's epicentre, Kassai must have made peace with himself and his career - in many ways he is the referee of the decade, and somehow fitting that he should end his career days before we enter a new one.

Much changed in that decade too. Kassai went from being the future to "the future, once". His career is fascinating to analyse, of course there were mistakes, some very public and visible, but his excellence is enduring, his durability remarkable, his comebacks inspirational. We thought we were going to be treated with another which would see him attend EURO 2020 - but Kassai was already content. 

So, was this decade of refereeing the Kassai Decade?

Viktor Kassai during the Mexico - Uruguay game at FIFA World Cup 2010
Competition in South Africa can be seen as the thesis for Kassai's career

In preparing to write this article - I thought a lot about how best to approach analysing an amazing and complex career - I decided to fill the gap of a two hour journey by rewatching the Spain - Italy group stage game from UEFA EURO 2012 handled by Viktor Kassai. It seems I, and I imagine many others also made this mistake, managed to forget just how brilliant Kassai was in that period. Wow! Wisła Kraków - APOEL, Barcelona - AC Milan, his Champions League Final - Hungarian gave us a masterclass in officiating football matches on many occasions.

It is remarkable how ahead of his time Kassai was: his style, with simply incredible game-feeling, flawless lenient foul detection, great fitness and awesome natural authority became the thesis of UEFA refereeing for years. It is not unfair to say that many European referees got far by being imperfect mimics of Kassai's way of refereeing; he really was the maître. It is really amazing how universal the skills that Kassai perfected, especially that game-feeling, then became universal in UEFA refereeing within a short few years - perhaps that is the greatest compliment to his refereeing. And yet, he must wear a wry smile as nobody is quite as good as he was at it.

Viktor Kassai sorts out a yellow card during the UEFA Champions League 2011 Final
Kassai became the youngest ever man to handle a CL Final at thirty-five
Manchester United - Barcelona game was very well-refereed by the Hungarian

If I may return to Spain - Italy, it was more-or-less clear by the time that Kassai walked out to handle the Ukraine - England game a week later that he was candidate No.1 for the EURO 2012 Final. That was an amazing rise for a referee who before World Cup 2010 was comfortably the most unknown of the Europeans there (despite handling the Olympic Final two years previous) - three excellent performances saw him appointed for the Germany - Spain Semifinal game, and he ended the competition as the best UEFA referee. Such style of refereeing had never been seen before - it is incredible through the prism of late 2019 to say that. Pierluigi Collina appointed Kassai for the Champions League Final in 2011 because he was the present and the future. It was a rise that continued exponentially and was about to take him to EURO Final.

Kassai was again excellent in England - Ukraine. But he was sent home - and the EURO Final had gone. It is impossible to look at his career without acknowledging the mistakes made in his games that cost him a lot - 23/April/2013, 18/April/2017, 7/November/2018 - and incredibly the World Cup that was the thesis of his career was his only one. His team-mates were not always faultless, but his continued friendship with Gábor Erös, his long-time assistant referee who recovered from cancer treatment to run his mates' line in that Champions League Final points to a great man as well as a great referee.

Viktor Kassai during the England - Ukraine game at UEFA EURO 2012
Additional Assistant Referee István Vad failed to recognise a goal for the hosts
Mistake resulted in the Hungarian quintet being sent home from the competition 

It is a tragic irony that Viktor Kassai handled the first-ever EURO match with Goal-Line Technology; yet, a remarkable achievement that he managed to comeback from everything that happened in between that game in 2012 to be appointed for the opening game of EURO 2016. A very good UEFA Knockout Stage, particularly the Real Madrid - Wolfsburg game in the Quarterfinal of Champions League, created one of the inspirational comeback stories of the decade in refereeing. Missing the World Cup in 2014 where it was for a long time totally inconceivable that Kassai would not be there would have destroyed a lot of referees - but not him.

As four years ago, Kassai showed the best performance of the whole EURO: in the Germany - Italy Quarterfinal game. Remarkably, he was again on the cusp of the EURO Final being one of the two last men standing. If Wales had beaten Portugal in the Semifinal, Kassai would have a EURO Final in his palmarés. Instead, Mark Clattenburg handled the Final but Kassai was still involved - as fourth official, as he was in the Champions League Final 2016 again with the Englishman as referee. An excellent EURO again for Kassai, and this time he was rewarded for it. A wonderful moment!

Viktor Kassai becomes the first referee to award a penalty after an On-Field Review in December 2016
Hungarian awarded the penalty after VAR intervention in the Atlético Nacional - Kashima Antlers game
Kassai again could reflect on bad fortune but showed bravery and courage to make the right call

And we thought he was going to do it again! Kassai showed his top class when he presented a very good officiating in the feisty Chinese Super League title decider in October this year, as well as in the decisive Champions League group stage match Atlético Madrid - Lokomotiv Moskva. It seems that Kassai was heading to a place on the refereeing team for EURO 2020 - which would be perfect swan song for the Hungarian to finish his career. But, he fooled us all and ended his career with a final match in the bombastic yet widely inconspicuous Saudi Pro League. Or perhaps better put - just another game for him.

Kassai clearly didn't care for a big send off or even an easy one at that - and that should be the biggest compliment to his career; it did not need one. His last act as a referee was to show a red card after the final whistle! And in a game that went more-or-less totally unnoticed, even in refereeing circles. Watching the Hungarian into the next decade would have been almost quaint; and besides, what more does he have to achieve - Kassai did not care for EURO 2020; UEFA needed him more than he needed them.

Viktor Kassai during the Germany - Italy game at UEFA EURO 2016
Hungarian was involved in six games in the competition, including the Final

So, we return to the initial question - was this decade of refereeing the Kassai Decade?

It is fair to say that when Viktor Kassai blew the final whistle on the Champions League Final in 2011 it was envisaged that he would have a career reminiscent of Cüneyt Çakır, with Semifinal after Semifinal. Kassai did not manage that.

But, if we talk about a man who was one of the best referees in the world more often than not in the last ten years, and a figure who not only revolutionised refereeing, but saw refereeing changed in his image - then yes, we really did just live in the Kassai decade of refereeing.

Joining him in also retiring from the pitch, one of the best Assistant Referees of the last decade, György Ring (only 1981 born!) - we wish them both the best of luck in the future.

Thank you Viktor!


  1. Replies
    1. 1) Real - Bayern
      2) Ukraine - England
      3) ManCity - Shakhtar Donetsk

    2. I see that bad people in 2020 are still alive.

    3. It is something worth mentioning, terrible mistakes that he and his team made in too many important matches.

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    5. Please, let's not resort to ad hominem attacks.

  2. A really nice article, full of admiration and kind words which we rarely see these days. However, I think it is too much to call the past decade his decade. His mistakes and flaws in form are simply turned into his strength (great comebacks etc) in this text and that is not fair. The statement that UEFA needs him more than he needs EURO is strong, but not completely true. He is not close to top 5 UEFA choices at the moment, and this is a bit disrespectful to other referees, both in UEFA and the world. Pitana, Alireza Faghani, Cakir, Kuipers, Mazic, Rocchi etc. are all fantastic referees which certainly arent class below Kassai.

    Anyway, I agree Kassai had a remarkable career and that he should have some kind of tribute, like this article in major part...

  3. Handball or not?

    Southampton vs Tottenham, ref Mike Dean (VAR Anthony Taylor)

    1. LOOOOOOOOL in England they think it's not an offence. No words other than they are simply stupid!!!!!

    2. In my opinion a closer replay is missing and, based on this footage, there isn't the evidnce that touch occurred 100% by arm. It is possible that ball hit another part of the body. I can draw the conclusion that, without a clear proof, Taylor has supported the choice by Dean on the pitch.

    3. @Chefren, are you joking ?

      The handball it's clear. The best re-play is the one with TV camera behind the goal. Even the trajectory of the ball after the impact is specific for a handball (vertical to the ground).

      VAR was Taylor. Again an unacceptable mistake from him. A lot of (big) mistakes in last months. Once again I'm asking myself how is possible that Taylor is an Elite referee ...

    4. IMO 100% penalty. Arm in unnatural position. Defender takes the risk.

    5. So if we think that it was a touch by arm, there aren't explanations for NO VAR intervention. That's why I was looking for a possible reason. I'm not really convinced that Taylor could have decided to play on from VAR room.

    6. 100% it touches the arm. 100% unnatural position. 100% penalty. Unacceptable mistake by Taylor. One of the clearest handball offences you can imagine, hard to believe an UEFA Elite referee can make such a mistake (it would be a bit another thing if he had missed it but here it was pure decision making). He's having a tough time not only on the pith but also in the VOR.

  4. I have one question, not realted to this post, Jared Gillet, Australian Fifa Referee is now in England, is he gonna lost his Fifa Badge or he will stay with it

    1. It will be interesting to watch the next game he does to see if he still has it.

    2. From what I heard, he may likely to lose it. The FA won't list him as FIFA referee. However, the FFA may continue to list him but they have Faghani now.

    3. Faghani for sure will still have his badge under Iran. He did an interview where he said his home federation will continue to support his aspiration to go to the 2022 world cup. Even if he is refereeing in Australia.

  5. Deos anybody with a bit more knowledge about RAP know when the second verson normally comes out? I´m guessing, as they haven´t released one yet, they are saving themselves for the EURO 2020?

    1. I was informed a few days ago that 2019:2 is about to be published, however there isn't a standard date for the release.

  6. OT: Incredible incident in West Ham v Bournemouth. Referee Graham Scott shows a red card to Cresswell for SFP and then VAR overturns it and makes it a yellow instead. NO OFR.
    There is no way in hell as a referee if I give a red card for SFP where I've clearly seen it that I'm going to overturn my decision without having a look at it on the monitor first.

    1. Something similar happened in Watford-Wolverhampton (70'): Andy Madley overturned his initial YC (SPA) decision to RC (DOGSO), after he was being told to do so by VAR.

      If we consider this passage "Only the referee can initiate a 'review'; the VAR (and other match officials) can only recommend a 'review' to the referee", then we have in Madley's and in Scott's games a violation of the VAR protocol as the decision seems to be taken by VAR himself. This is re-refereeing the game.

    2. Sorry, but it's just unacceptable usage of VAR. Scott was in perfect position to evaluate the situation and I think he was absolutely correct to show RC. Everybody also accepted it, there was not even a protest from players and then suddenly it's changed for YC, without basically Scott knows the reason why he does it.
      Still wondering where was the obvious and clear error to intervene... And then in the Spurs game where VAR should have intervened, then didn't happen.
      Every single game week it's scandolous how Premier League referees are advised to use VAR system..

  7. The defending team clears the ball (IMO) without being under pressure, but by uncontrolled deliberate touch.
    VAR think APP is not end.

    Understandable, but 100% clear judgment?

  8. According the most biggest Hungarian Newspaper, It is possible that Kassai will be the chief of The Russian Referee Committee. This is why he decided so fast to retire.

  9. OT: Australian Referee Appointments
    Hyundai A-League Match day 13 -

    Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Brisbane Roar FC -
    Wednesday, 1 January 2020
    Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta
    Kick-Off: 7:30pm (Local) (7:30pm (AEDT))
    Referee: Alex King (FIFA)
    Assistant Referee 1: Andrej Giev
    Assistant Referee 2: Adam Powers
    Fourth Official: Kurt Ams (FIFA)
    VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

    Melbourne City v Western United FC -
    Friday, 3 January 2020
    AAMI Park, Melbourne
    Kick-Off: 7:30pm (Local) (7:30pm (AEDT))
    Referee: Adam Kersey
    Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Ilievski
    Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Meimarakis
    Fourth Official: Daniel Elder
    VAR: Alex King (FIFA)

    Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners -
    Saturday, 4 January 2020
    Westpac Stadium, Wellington
    Kick-Off: 7:15pm (Local) (5:00pm (AEDT))
    Referee: Jonathan Barreiro (FIFA)
    Assistant Referee 1: Mark Rule (FIFA)
    Assistant Referee 2: Sarah Jones [(FIFA) Womens]
    Fourth Official: Adam Bavcar
    VAR: Nick Waldron (FIFA)

    Sydney FC v Adelaide United -
    Saturday, 4 January 2020
    Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah
    Kick-Off: 7:30pm (Local) (7:30pm (AEDT))
    Referee: Adam Fielding
    Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick (FIFA)
    Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor
    Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas
    VAR: Alex King (FIFA)

    Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets -
    Sunday, 5 January 2020
    AAMI Park, Melbourne
    Kick-Off: 6:30pm (Local) (6:30pm (AEDT))
    Referee: Daniel Elder
    Assistant Referee 1: Andrew Lindsay (FIFA)
    Assistant Referee 2: George Lakrindis (FIFA)
    Fourth Official: Kate Jacewicz (FIFA)
    VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

    * Congratulations to Alex King on being appointed to the FIFA international referees list for the first time. Well deserved.

  10. Do we have a list of match officials for AFC u23 Championships?

    1. I was looking too, but could only find some names (Faghani, Taqi, Beath, Yaacob, Makhadmah) and not an exhaustive list.

      Does anyone know any more?

    2. It will be an interesting tournament to follow because they will be using VAR.
      On a side note this video AFC released about VAR for U23 Thailand contradicts just about everything they do with VAR in the Premier League.


    4. 34 referees and 26 assistant referees were appointed.

    5. Japan and Qatar appear to be the winners here with both nations having 4 referees present but for sure some of these will only act as VAR.

  11. FIFA is very late in uploading the site with new officials for 2020.
    One year ago, they did that exactly on 01/01.
    As I already reported, they have removed the section of the site with the lists from every country and now there is a generic PDF with all international officials. Let's wait for the update. We will have also UEFA assistant referees, and the answer about Jared Gillet if kept as AUS FIFA referee or not.

  12. Gillet is out Chefren. Please look at Jackson’s link ;)

  13. Sorry) but it's really interesting, what is your top 5 Kassai's matches at his career?

    1. I can't mention 5 games as I don't remember all, but one is standing out for me and that's the EURO 2016 quarterfinal Italy-Germany game.
      It was just a perfect refereeing and probably not only the best handled game in the EURO but probably one of the best performance on international level in the last decade. Even though he refereed finals and semifinals and important CL games, but that game should be used as an educational example for everybody how to referee a high-pressure game.
      All in all a very strong career, and probably he deserved more to achieve, but we shouldn't forget he managed to be competitive with Busacca, de Bleckeere, Rosetti, Webb, Cakir, Kuipers, Clattenburg and I could mention more other big names, but he was always among them in the last 10-12 years. So all the best for him in the future and congratulations to his achievements!

    2. I would add:

      Brazil - Korea DPR 2010
      Mexico - Uruguay 2010
      Barcelona - Manchester United 2011
      APOEL Lefkosía - Wisła Kraków 2011
      Spain - Italy 2012
      Barcelona - AC Milan 2013
      Real Madrid - Wolfsburg 2016
      Germany - Italy 2016
      Roma - Lyon 2017
      Burnley - Olympiakós 2019

      And for the sake of balance:

      Bayern - Barcelona 2013
      Leverkusen - Roma 2015
      Real Madrid - Bayern 2017
      Manchester City - Shakhtar 2018

  14. I'm really sad about Kassai's retirement. In my opinion he has indeed been one of the best referees of last decade since 2008.
    My congratulation to him for his outstanding carrier; he has been criticized too much, also by most of readers of this blog; He would have been deserved more in tem of assignments and recognition. Best wishes to him for his future

  15. OT

    Mattias Gestranius (FIN, UEFA 1st) will handle the Greek Classico Olympiakos - Panathinaikos (5/1 18:30 CET). Tasos Papapetrou (UEFA 2nd) will handle the Thessaloniki Classico ARIS-PAOK. Appointments were released today 24h before the first match.

    10 days ago all the SL referees and AR's decided to go on a strike since an attack happened on a colleague's home. Plus the referee and VAR of the Volos-Olympiakos match face criminal charges. On Wednesday the referees were forced to vote 3 times internally. All the parties (SL, HFF, most of the teams) wanted the strike to stop. And they succeeded it. Embarrassing.

    1. Another incident today. New attack on a referee.

      Strangers attacked the home of Angelos Evaggelou. He was VAR on the Volos-Olympiakos match 10 days ago. This is the 2 attack on his home.


  16. Do you think UEFA EURO 2020 referee list will be ready only after PLAY-OFF matches in March?

    1. I think after Winter Seminar for Elite Referees end of January.
      Have you any details about such workshop ? Which location ? When exactly ? How is invited to attend ?

    2. It will be better to ask Chefren

    3. About the EURO referees, it is indeed possible that names will be released only after PLAY OFF on March, this would be logical.
      But please don't be too much surprised if I say that, in my opinion of course, it is possible that EURO referees wont be announced at all. We were used to see a rigid protocol by Collina, with a long preparation and an early announcement.
      I say that because if we consider the VAR as well, the list of selected referees would be definitely very long, including at least almost all Elite referees plus several Category 1 and 2.
      So under this aspect, announcing certain names would give then less flexibility to Rosetti and committee.
      But of course that's only my idea, I really don't know what will happen on next months.

      About the course, it will be held in Maiorca (organized in cooperation with RFEF) in these days: 26 - 29 January 2020.
      Further info about that will follow in due course.

    4. Do you think UEFA will use VAR and 2 AVAR's at EURO2020?
      Еlite category list won't be enough to fill up the nessesarity of referees at tournament?
      As VAR's and the referees on field?

  17. Saudi SuperCup tomorrow

    Al-Nassr v Al-Ta'awun
    REF: Danny Makkelie
    AR1: Mario Diks
    AR2: Jan de Vries
    4OF: Christiaan Bax
    VAR: Jochem Kamphuis
    AVAR: Rob Dieperink

  18. Very intelligent from Makkelie, officiating in Saudi Arabia during winter break to keep the form when domestic and international games are not played. Committee can be only content about that.

    1. Will be a very hot and intense match! Two big teams with lots of rivalry. Last year Cakir officiated the Saudi Super Cup.

  19. Hello guys. Seems Rosetti praised Frappart for his performance during Supercup with distance record by french female ref.
    original article from Gazetta. A word from this interview chefren?

    La surprenante performance de Stéphanie Frappart lors de la Supercoupe d'Europe - Foot


      Stéphanie Frappart and women's refereeing. Is there a chance to see again a similar appointment in Champions League / EURO?

      Frappart, Nicolosi and O'Neill have been excellent in officiating Super Cup. Klopp, Lampard and all the players have been very respectful, not because she was a woman, but because they recognized she had great technical skills. Performance has been outstanding: she ran 16,1 km in 120 minutes and 11,9 km in the regular 90 minutes. The best record of recent two years in Champions League, in more than 400 analyzed games. A barrier has been broken down, other ones will be broken down in future.

    2. The other questions and answers are not so much interesting (or
      at least, nothing new for us), but there is for sure one statement I must report:

      If players are allowed to play twice or even more times a final, why not the same for referees?

      Personally, I don't like this sentence. I will always hope that Champions League final referee will be a new one for that game.

    3. I also don't like the sentence quoted in Chefren's second reply.
      Indeed, hopefully there won't come a time when a referee will have his second final...

  20. It looks like Viktor Kassai continues refereeing games in Saudi Arabia. Today, he handled the Al-'Adalah v Al-Shu'alah game in domestic cup round of 16.

    1. He ruined my intro! :D

      Ostensibly quite busy game too for him (9 YCs); I guess that KSA Sports on YouTube will put the full match record up in the next days.

      Are we even sure he won't carry on to EURO 2020? Probably not, but...

      PS: Anybody watching Makkelie right now?

    2. Makkelie did a good match which wasn't easy. He had full control and managed the players well. All potential penalty situations correctly assessed. He only missed 1 yellow card for Taawoun for a step on foot. I like his style, firm and friendly and keeping the players calm. His assistants were excellent! Especially in delaying the flag according to the VAR protocol. Nassr won, which was deserved.

  21. I have a question with Kuipers. He still is a referee, but he is 47 years. When he will retire, after Euro 2020 or at the end of the year?

  22. Kuipers will retire after the Euro. He will be there for sure.

    1. Was the same situation with Rocchi?

    2. No, as explained by Anonymous below, age limits have been abolished inNetherlands, while Italy still keep 45 years old as domestic limit.

  23. There is no age limit in The Netherlands. Therefore, Björn is allowed to continue his domestic and international career as long as he, the Dutch FA and UEFA want to. And I would be sad if he ends it before being 50. He is very fit and still one of the best if not the best in Europe. Undoubtedly, Björn's retirement will be a huge miss.

  24. What happened with the Elite referees or their AR if they failed the test before Euro 2020?

  25. Interesting things to note from the FA Cup appointments:

    => Jarred Gillett, Tim Robinson, Darren England and Robert Jones will all handle games at PL teams (ie. VAR in operation). No coincidence - these are the candidates for promotion to 'Select Group One' for next season. Furthermore Jones is observed by Stephen Lodge - very important name here.

    => Jonathan Moss takes charge of the biggest game, Merseyside Derby between Liverpool - Everton at 17:01CET today. Full appointment:

    REF: Jonathan Moss
    AR1: Daniel Cook
    AR2: Marc Perry
    4th: Martin Atkinson
    VAR: Christopher Kavanagh
    AVAR: Mark Scholes
    Observer: Robert Shoebridge

    => Marc Edwards, John Busby, Michael Salisbury and Anthony Backhouse all get games despite being only National List (L1/L2 games) referees - good signal for them regarding promotion to 'Select Group Two'.

    => Paul Tierney was observed last night in Wolverhampton Wanderers - Manchester United by Stephen Tanner (another important name); we can infer that he is candidate No.1 for the Final this year.

    Full appointments can be found here:

    1. After watching Gillett's game it is now 100% double confirmed that he is out from the FIFA list.

    2. How did Gillett get on?
      I guess easy game for him with one technically much-inferior team.

      Backhouse correctly issued a Red Card (Serious Foul Play) in his game:

  26. Matchweek 20 of the Premier League featured 6 VAR reviews (all of them VAR-only, of course). Visit the following link to watch a full video of every review, get all information about each of them and get statistics about VAR in the league.
    (Sorry for the delay.)

  27. Interesting situation from serie A game SPAL - Hellas Verona.
    Straight RC for SFP. VAR supported this decision.

    1. Not preferred decision from Guida. But I also don’t think it was a “clear and obvious error”

  28. Michael Oliver went to use the pitch side monitor to award a red card in a game involving crystal palace and Derby county. So it seems it is purely Mike riley who doesn't want the on field check


      This is the exact scenario that I spoke about where an On-Field Review would be used - off the ball Violent Conduct (correct decision, by the way). And such cases are the only ones where referees will go to the RRA.


      I can't wait for refereeing authorities to try to explain this to football people...

    2. Well it's not seen as that here.because none of such as seen that in the premier league

    3. And can we get a video because it was stipulated that the card was upgraded from yellow card to q red card


    5. It was an OFF-THE-BALL Violent Conduct, ie. the referee missed it (or the DECISIVE bit of violence) on a perception level.

      Expected outcome in this situation is for an On-Field Review; nothing has changed in the protocol.

    6. Mikael W, the pundits don't see to realise what you're saying. They think that this will be a sign (using the RRA) of things to come. They will be sadly disappointed.


      It's pretty funny that the first OFR of the season had to happen on an FA Cup weekend too; now the media / football people believe that:
      1) Refereeing has 'listened' to the criticism and changed the protocol
      2) There is a dichotomisation between FA Cup and Premier League guidelines

      As you said Jackson, public will be disappointed in the next weeks.

    8. He gave the red card for the headbutt but even without that it should be a red for the kick out with both legs when he was on the ground.

    9. Hi Mikael,

      I was intrigued by your comments. Are you sure that is the protocol?

      Wasn’t Son’s RC vs Chelsea an off the ball violent conduct? Yet the VAR took the decision without an OFR.

      Ps. I always enjoy your informed comments and I make sure to read them all. I just rarely comment.

    10. Thanks for your comment Gylfi.

      The difference between the situations from TOTCHE and CPLDER:

      - Situation in Taylor's game happened in his visual control and referee had the CHANCE to see what happened (he just didn't), or rather he misinterpreted what happened.

      - Situation in Oliver's game happened behind his back as he was correctly following play; ie. he had NO chance to see what happened (not his fault of course).

      -> In the latter case PGMOL recommend referee to go to the RRA. As I said before about refereeing here:
      Only in England...

  29. Matchweek 21 of the Premier League featured 5 VAR reviews (all of them VAR-only, of course). Go to the following link to watch a full video of every review, get all information about each of them and get statistics about VAR in the league.

  30. Official: Viktor Kassai has retired

    His final whistle:

  31. Spanish SuperCup Appointments:
    Valencia – Real Madrid

    REF: Jesús Gil Manzano
    AR1: Ángel Nevado Rodríguez
    AR2: Javier Martínez Nicolás
    4th: Santiago Jaime Latre
    VAR: Pablo González Fuertes
    AVAR: Roberto Díaz Pérez del Palomar
    Reserve AR: Diego Barbero Sevilla

    1. Spanish SuperCup Appointments:
      Barcelona - Atlético de Madrid (2nd Semi-final)

      REF: José Luis González González
      AR1: Rubén Becerril Gómez
      AR2: Diego Sánchez Rojo
      4th: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández
      VAR: Juan Martínez Munuera
      AVAR: Diego Barbero Sevilla
      Reserve AR: Roberto Díaz Pérez del Palomar

  32. I must Say Anthony Taylor is in his worst form ever.

    1. I agree. How many yellow cards did he miss or ignore today?!?

    2. Xhaka had diplomatic maybe? :)
      Then situation with Sokratis and Leeds player with assistant 1 meter from them?!?!

    3. diplomatic immunity*

    4. I can excuse Taylor for some borderline yellows in the first half because there were two teams that wanted to outplay each otherbut in a fair manner, the tempo was frenetic and it was pure joy to watch. And Taylor is a referee who feels the rhythm of the game so I think that he contributed to the football with his uncharacteristically lenient performance in the first half. In end of the game he showed the cards when it started some dirty tricks.
      HOWEVER. In no world I can understand how it was not a red card for Lacazette after VAR review - I even don't know who was VAR and I don't really care - because for me he is not a referee. KICKING AN OPPONENT WITHOUT A BALL ?!??!??!? And it was all so obvious - just incredible. Yes, people can understand when the referee makes mistakes on the pitch, but how to expain this ?!? It is not the wrong decisions on the pitch - it is the wrong decisions by VAR that shows the people how incompetent some referees are. I am really sad when I see this.

  33. In general, a good performance by Daniele Doveri in the Napoli - Inter game. He had a good feeling when to jump in, was rather in the background but never hesitating to intervene when needed. He really contributed to this entertaining game, also by not buying Napoli appeals for a second yellow card for holding in the second half (no blatant character of the holding and no clear SPA).

    As for mistakes, one missed yellow card to Inter: reckless tackle some seconds after the first caution to the away team. One tricky incident (play-on) when Lukaku was entering penalty area and an opponent carted out his leg making a small contact but a) it happened slightly outside penalty area and b) rather wasn't a clear and obvious mistake to deem the contact as no foul and also regarding potential DOGSO.

    The whole performance could be, however, spoilt in the added time: clearly careless tackle of Napoli player inside his penalty area was not whistled (there are doubts if there is offside prior to that but AR2 kept the flag down and it seems there was one slightly injured Napoli player who broke the offside line) and VAR didn't intervene. If there is no offside, this HAS TO be a penalty.

  34. Roberto García Orozco, former top referee from Mexico, announced his retirement in the last weeks.

    A real shame that a great referee never managed to attend a WC; he is the most recent in a long list of great referees from his country.

    I hope he can reflect fondly on a great career that featured two Copa Américas, including a participation in the final in 2016.

    On behalf of the blog - all the best and thank you Roberto!

  35. IMO, Roberto García Orozco is the best referee from Mexico in the last decade. All the best for him

  36. Saudi League today

    18:00 CET
    Al-Hilal Riyadh - Al-Ahli Jiddah
    Szymon Marciniak - Paweł Sokolnicki, Tomasz Listkiewicz - Shukri Al-Hanfush (VAR: Tomasz Musiał, Muhammad Al-Huwaish)

  37. OT: To all the readers from Germany, can someone please say me, if it's not forbidden to download the RAP 2019 in Germany because of the legislation?

  38. Final of Kuwait's Crown Prince Cup will be handled by Sandro Schärer this afternoon (1545CET). VAR will be in operation.

    Live stream:

    Match for Third Place was played yesterday, handled by Arabian Gulf Cup attendee Ali Mahmoud Hassan Shaban - some situations below:

    => 26'

    => 35'

    => 79'


    => 26' Penalty (handling) and Red Card (DOG(SO)) cancelled after an On-Field Review for a prior handling
    Was this handling a) classically deliberate or b) considered as part of the 'goal' as per the latest IFAB clarification?

    => 35' Penalty (charging / striking) appeal; VAR supported play on

    => 79' No foul (charging) given - further punishment required?