The MLSz Issue Response to

We have now received a response from the MLSz regarding our article Viktor Kassai and the secretive world of the MLSz refereeing department. The full translated transcript can be read below, translated by David Asboth.

“Out of its many tasks the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) considers its most important to be the development of the quality of football. The association makes all of its decisions in the spirit that their actions lead to the improvement of the quality of football. In all instances a sort of impartiality is required; personal interests can never influence professional decisions. In recent days many articles have dealt with referee Viktor Kassai’s absence from the World Cup. In regards to his person and professional activities, the MLSZ have the following to say.

Every professional decision may result in positive or negative personal outcomes, as is the case in all procedures where the goal is guaranteed quality and continuous improvement.

The members of the Hungarian refereeing team have been doing their work at an internationally accepted professional level for years; part of this is the evaluation and ranking of performance. Referees must accept when personnel decisions based on performance affect them in a negative way. Domestic referees are assessed based on their aggregate performance in domestic league games in the NB1, since the interest of the MLSZ is first and foremost the improvement of the quality of domestic refereeing.

In recent years several assessments, praise, criticism, and analysis have seen the light of day relating to Viktor Kassai, who was voted the world’s best referee in 2011. In the last six months, both the domestic and international media have dealt with his performances relating to the Bayern Munich – Real Madrid Champions League quarter-final, and the Turkey-Croatia World Cup qualifier. As with these games, the MLSZ always stands with those of our referees that do their work to the best of their ability, when they receive criticism from home or abroad. As Sándor Csányi, president of the MLSZ, said at this year’s convention, every sportsman, including referees, can make mistakes; however, in no case is there an excuse for behaviour that is unacceptable towards the sport and its participants i.e. players, sporting directors, or fans.

Regarding Viktor Kassai’s domestic ranking, a Hungarian referee’s assessment is entirely independent of performance in any international match; the latter is the jurisdiction of UEFA and FIFA. The MLSZ Refereeing Committee assesses referees solely based on their performances in league matches in the OTP Bank Liga. In all 198 domestic league matches, referee assessors rate the performance of referees; this includes all assistants as well as the main referee. These professional ratings are averaged across all performances and form the basis for the ranking of each individual referee. Only the impartial analysis of domestic performance is used to determine the final rankings.

As a consequence the MLSZ Refereeing Committee cannot protect, help, or hinder any individual referee, as this “special treatment” would add undesirable personal emotion into a purely professional rating process. Referees can only improve their professional ranking by being rewarded with high marks for high quality performances in matches.

In summary, the World Cup appearance of the highest-ranked Hungarian referees is not down to their MLSZ ranking, but instead the decision of the FIFA refereeing committee, who presumably base this on referees’ international performance. The MLSZ is sorry that there will be no Hungarian referee present at the 2018 World Cup, but it considers it a more important task, in fact its most important, to improve the quality of domestic football and youth development.”

Their response can be read in Hungarian here on their website.