Solymosi Péter reaches 300 NBI games as referee.

Hungarian Version

Congratulations to Solymosi Péter who referees his 300th NBI match, in the game between Puskás Akádemia v Kaposvári Rákóczi on 10th June 2010. He becomes only the 3rd referee to have reached this fantastic milestone.  

Kassai Viktor is the record holder, having refereed 323 NBI matches prior to his retirement in January 2020. Szabó Zsolt is in second place, having refereed 321 games prior to his retirement in the summer of 2018.  If Mr Solymosi were to continue for a further full season he could conceivably set a new record…

Background

Mr Solymosi was born in Veszprém on 6th September 1972. As a child, he attended a sports elementary school in Veszprém, where from the age of five he took part in mandatory training every day. He was a certified player for Bakony Vegyész (now VLS Veszprém). He started there as a teenager in their youth age group, before playing for the adult team. He later transferred to Veszprémi Volánhoz, until the club ceased to exist. He finished his active footballing career in 1997, with a small team in Gyulafirátót.

As a referee

He took the referee course in Veszprém in 1995 at the invitation of his coach, Ferenc Kadlicskó. After starting out in county level matches with the Veszprém County Football Association he made his debut as a referee in the fall of 1997, in the Várpalotai Bányász SK v Badacsonytomaji SE match. He worked his way up the referee ladder quickly making his NB. IB (East) debut as the senior Assistant Referee on 25th November 2000 in the BVSC-Zugló v Szolnok MÁV FC-Neusiedle match.

He made his NBI debut as referee on 10th April 2001, in a match between MTK Budapest v FC Sopron and has refereed regularly in the NBI since 2002. When professional referees were introduced in 2013, he was amongst the first 12 referees appointed and has remained a professional referee since. 

Mr Solymosi has been registered with the MLSZ JB since 1st January 2002. He is also registered with the Hajdu-Bihar County Association, as he has lived in Debrecen since 2007.

In terms of his refereeing style, his application of the Laws of the game is firm although he is a referee who likes to make good use of advantages more in keeping with refereeing within the spirit of the Laws than a completely strict interpretation. His decisions are consistent for both teams. His physical fitness allows him to make an up close decision. He regularly punishes dissent, dangerous play, excessive use of force, and severely unsportsmanlike conduct. Whilst he is a relaxed and level headed referee he is not afraid to make the big decisions.

He describes refereeing as “a very interesting and beautiful profession.” and says “I would like to believe myself as a referee who tries to make the game as continuous as possible so that the ninety minutes can be enjoyed.” He goes on to say “I communicate a lot during matches, too, according to my colleagues, but in most cases it pays off. A good, well-chosen sentence can often dampen the tension on the field. Sometimes humour also helps, there was a time when after a match one of the players came to complain with great fervour and said he wasn’t happy with the performance. In reply I told him, “indeed, he has played better than this”. He immediately smiled and finished the complaint.” In relation to dissent he says that he does try to let a lot go but there are times when he will need to deal more strictly with it. He prefers to have a word with the player first but if they still continue then he will issue a yellow card.

Turning Professional

On 01.07.13 he became one of Hungary’s first 12 professional referees. Something that he describes as a great honour. Wages are influenced by the referees performance based on their merit marks. They receive a set fee but can earn bonus’s by continually performing well and receiving good marks. 

Remaining past age 45

In February 2018, Mr Solymosi made history in Hungary, along with his colleague Szabó Zsolt, when they became the first referees to continue after age 45 when the MLSZ relaxed their previous strict retirement age and brought it inline with FIFA’s. 

FIFA relaxed the retirement age in December 2014 to be implemented from season 15/16. Standing directives were issued to all confederations that still had a 45 year old retirement age, at the start of seasons 2016/17 and 2017/18, encouraging them to implement the relaxation domestically as it conflicted with FIFA policy. The MLSZ complied with the FIFA directive and updated their policy with effect from January 2018. There is no guarantee that any referee will carry on after reaching the age of 45, it is not an automatic right to carry on. Each referee will be judged on an individual basis, once they reach age 45 and will need to pass the fitness test and their merit markings will need to be within the acceptable level. The MLSZ have not confirmed if the referees also need to pass additional medical tests, the same as the FIFA referees are required to do. As a side note Takács János was also allowed to continue refereeing past the age of 45 when the spring season started in February 2018, and remains as a referee in the NBII and acts as AAR in the NBI. 

Future Plans

At the moment Mr Solymosi’s only future plan appears to be to return to live around Lake Balaton, once he retires! 

Mr Solymosi originally trained as a chef, a profession that he had to give up as he worked his way up the refereeing ladder. Needing to have every weekend off was incompatible so instead he took a job as a driver for a pharmaceutical company until he turned professional in 2013. He has not ruled out a return to cooking for a living as he still enjoys to cook and does wonder whether after years of psychological pressure as a referee doing something completely different would be good. 

Nor has he ruled out staying involved in football/refereeing once he does finally hang up his whistle. In addition to having a sports management degree he is also a qualified referee observer. The current MLSZ guidelines, quite rightly, do not permit current serving referees to attend matches as a referee observer, however he has previously acted as an observer in the NBIII. All of the professional referees rotate around the counties, not just the county they are registered with, working with upcoming referees.  There are many options available should he decide to remain in refereeing – coaching, mentoring, assessing (observer) at county or national level and with the introduction of VAR not too far away there will no doubt be a new role opening up within the MLSZ JB for someone as head of VAR, overseeing the training of the referees and the implementation of VAR.

What is clear is that he is satisfied with everything he has achieved as a referee, domestically taking charge of the Fradi/Újpest derby is seen as a pinnacle, something he has achieved a few times. He has also refereed 3 Magyar Kupa finals. Whilst he never made the FIFA list himself he has been involved in around 50 matches internationally as 4th official and as AAR in the Europa League.

Equally clear is that he remains as focused as ever and continues to strive to be the best that he can be in every match that he is involved in and still enjoys being out on the pitch refereeing. He appears to be deciding on a 6 monthly basis, in between each half of the season as to whether to continue or not. In my opinion, all the time he remains fit enough to keep up with play and his decision making continues with the same accuracy and consistency as it has now then he should continue as a referee. With all of the changes coming (eg replacing AAR’s with VAR) a level headed, experienced referee is invaluable not only for the teams but also to help settle and guide the young referees coming through onto the NBI.

Career Highlights

  • The Earth Cup Final (Szabad Föld-kupa döntő) held at the Puskás Ferenc Stadion on 26th May 2003 when Szár-Ilzer beat Enese SC 3-1. 
  • The Magyar Szuperkupa Final held at the Oláh Gábor Utcai Stadion, Debrecen on 15th July 2007. Debrecen VSC beat Budapest Honvéd 3-0.
  • The Magyar Kupa final (2nd leg) held at the Bozsik József Stadion on 26th May 2009. The game ended 0-0 with Budapest Honvéd winning the Kupa on the away goal rule, having beaten ETO FC Győr 1-0 in the 1st leg.
  • The Magyar Kupa final held at the Puskás Ferenc Stadion on 25th May 2014. Újpest winning the match 4-3 on penalties after Diósgyőr VTK had equalised in 90+1.
  • The Magyar Kupa Final held at the Groupama Aréna on 31st May 2017. Ferencvarós beat Vasas 6-5 on penalties.
  • Received the Pál Hertzka Award for referee of the year in 2006, 2007 & 2015.
  • Was announced as referee of the year at the Ranking Awards Gala at the end of season 2016/17.

Career Statistics

Full career stats (NBIII-NBI): 583 matches in total plus 50 international matches. 

Yellow Cards: 1507; Red Cards: 89

NBI Stats: 431 games (299 as referee (játékvezető); 4 as Assistant Referee (Asszisztensek); 111 as AAR (Alapvonali játékvezető) & 17 as 4th Official (tartalék játékvezető). Yellow Cards: 1209; Red Cards: 69

Only have shirt stats from 2012/13 – current

Games: 153 – Black: 46; Blue: 35; Red: 32; Yellow: 40 <—not a stat to be proud of! Interestingly 18 of the 40 yellow shirts were during season 2013/14, which saw the majority of referees in the NBI with similarly high yellow shirt statistics. It must have been the first choice kit colour that season for some unknown reason!

Once again, congratulations to Mr Solymosi on a huge achievement. This is one that he can be very proud of.