Kassai error shows we need to be helping our referees more.

Referee errors! According to your average fan (and certain sections of the media) every referee error, big or small is definitive proof that x referee is incompetent, biased, hates their team and is a cheat! The reality is this couldn’t be any further from the truth, no referee steps out onto a pitch thinking I hope I get a chance to screw x team over at some point during the game today, even if it can sometimes feel that way to us as fans. The last thing that runs through any referee’s mind just before they blow the whistle to start a match is that they hope they get more decisions right than wrong and that if nothing else they get the big calls right. They no more intend to call one wrong any more than your star striker intends to miss that open goal from 3 feet out or your goalie intends to just stand there flapping and not making a save that ‘your 98-year-old granny could have saved’. Your striker takes to the pitch wanting to score the winning goal, your goalie wants to make every save, the referee wants to get every decision correct – that is their intention before and during the game.

The media really do not help. Pundits are the worst – 2 weekends ago 1 Sky Sports commentator criticised a referee for not allowing a free kick to be taken quickly because he was booking the offender. He stated to however many millions were watching “referee ruined that there, he should have let them take the free kick quickly and then booked the player” – well Jonathan Pearce from Sky Sports, if you knew anything about the Laws of the game, you would know that the referee HAS to book the player BEFORE play re-starts or he cannot book him at all – page 124 Law 12 – check it out for yourself. Laws of the Game. Fans listening now think that referee made an error when the error was in fact a lack of knowledge of the Laws of the game by Jonathan Pearce, the so-called expert. A lack of knowledge he has now passed on as fact, spreading the lack of knowledge even further.  Same game, same commentator then criticised the assistant referee for correctly flagging for offside. His words of wisdom this time were that it was a harsh decision because the striker was only a few inches ahead of the defender, when the ball was played to him so the decision could have gone either way! Oh boy! No Jonathan Pearce it couldn’t – Law 11: Offside, check it out, do us all a favour and educate yourself! He was offside and the decision by Sian Massey was a great call but you have now left millions of viewers thinking she called it wrong. Again, the only error was the pundits lack of knowledge of the Laws of the game.

Not every referee error is actually an error, with a very high percentage of perceived referee errors, the real error is actually down to a lack of knowledge of the Laws of the game, perpetuated by ‘experts’ such as Jonathan Pearce from Sky peddling out misinformation to the masses every time he opens his mouth, misinformation they take as gospel because well he’s an expert and knows his stuff! I wish! Now I am not saying that referees don’t make mistakes, they do, they are mere humans after all however, statistics provided independently (of the referee authorities) from Prozone show that referees average 95-98% correct decisions per match compared to 60-80% for players. That is huge, particularly when you consider that they make on average 250+ decisions per game, 245 correct & 5 wrong. Shame everyone watching only remembers those 5 and not the 245 correct ones! Fans, players, managers are all too often far too quick to blame any defeat on the referee, you never see them credit the referee with the win though!

In reality it is actually very rare that a singular referee error defines the result of a game. The players have 90 mins to do their job right and counteract any referee error, particularly if the error is early on in a game. Even a wrong penalty decision at 90+5 that directly changes the game could have been counteracted if only the players had got 1 of those 15 shots on target in the net or the goalie hadn’t run about like a headless chicken flapping instead of saving a soft shot that gave the opposition an equaliser etc. Referee errors do play a part just as player errors do, any defeat is down to a combination of factors and not just the man or woman with the whistle.

Referee errors fall into 2 categories for me – understandable and inexplicable! There are some completely hapless referees out there, I can’t deny that: can’t/don’t keep up with play, do not read games well, poor man management, dreadful positioning, inconsistent decision making, poor judgement of what does/doesn’t constitute a foul etc. and some wrong decisions leave you scratching your head and thinking how on earth did he call that wrong. The understandable decisions are when you look at them rationally and can see a player has run in front of the referee just at the crucial moment, blocking his view or the offence is on the referees blindside, his angle of vision of the incident makes it look more/less serious. There are a lot of reasons a referee can call one wrong and you can understand why he has done so, dishonesty is not one of those reasons. It doesn’t change the fact it was a wrong call but it does demonstrate just how difficult it is for them. Again, the media do not help with their 24 cameras from every angle, zoomed in and played in slow motion, they seem to have conditioned people into forgetting that the referee has a singular angled view for a split second and that is all he has to base his decision on. Perhaps they should equip referees with body cams and only show the incident from his perspective at the time – many people would be surprised to see how different it is to that 27th replay of the incident where camera 12 zooms in & slowly shows the 'quite clear' foul/dive he missed.

Having said all of that let’s now look at Viktor Kassai’s error in the Turkey v Croatia match. First and foremost, it was a game changing error, there is no denying that. Let’s have a look at Kassai’s position at the time:

His positioning is excellent. He is exactly where the guidelines would recommend him to be. He is on the opposite side of the penalty box to his assistant, far enough out to give him a good view of the 15 or so players in the box but not so far that any decision he makes would not really be credible. However, there are at least 2 players who will be partially blocking his view along with the offending player himself. He is looking at the back of the player from the players left – the player handles the ball in front and with his right arm, these are on Kassai’s blind side and he himself has absolutely zero chance of being able to see it. He needs help to get this call right. On his part, you would have to class this as an understandable error, there are only 2 things that would have made this possible for him to see: 1) Position himself behind the goal line and watch from that side – that’s not a credible solution or 2) Equip himself with X-Ray vision so that he can see through the player and pick up that it was his arm not his head making contact with the ball, well that’s even less credible.

So, what of his assistant, Vencel Tóth. The image above doesn’t show it but he was also in the correct position. In the seconds before this and as part of the same passage of play, 3 players were actually inside the goal net over the line. His primary role is to watch for offsides and he would have been concentrating on those players. A still does not show the amount of activity that was going on at the time.  He had literally just made a correct non-offside call. To his view of this incident, firstly it would have been more in his periphery view than his full view – he will still be watching for offsides as he is meant to, but even if he was looking directly at the player he had a side on view. With the players arm up and his head down near his shoulder there is no way that the human eye could distinguish from his view whether the ball hit the players arm or head. Like with Kassai he had absolutely zero chance of being able to call this one right. It can only be classed as an understandable error.

They needed help, whether this came in the form of video replays or with the use of AAR’s wouldn’t matter – with either of them they would have got this decision right. If we look at the view from behind the goal, which is very similar to the one an AAR would have had it is a simple decision to get right. Had Kassai had an AAR on his team they would have been yelling down their headset 'handball, handball, disallow' or words to that effect. It would have been the help that the referee needed to call this one right.

I’m not a lover of technology in football. I don’t mind goal line technology (GLT), it is very definitive – either the ball crossed the line or it didn’t. If it did it would activate the GLT alarm on the referee’s arm so he knows with 100% certainty. I can see the benefits of video technology but in its current form it is clumsy, not very well thought out and the process takes far too long, in my opinion, and there are several improvements that need to be made before it can become a reliable source of help for the referee. It is in its infancy though at the moment and the only way to see where it needs to be improved is by using it and then tweaking the process as you go. That is the stage we are at with it. My personal choice would be GLT combined with AAR’s. The GLT frees up the AAR from having to watch for the ball crossing the line whereby he could conceivably miss an incident in the box because he is watching along the goal line and not looking in towards the penalty area, and therefore enabling him to purely watch the goings on in the box for fouls, dives and handballs!

From next season FIFA need to at the very least introduce AAR’s at every stage of all competitions, right from the first qualifying game instead of it just coming into effect in the latter stages, the Champions League, Europa League, all International games and preferably also along with goal line technology. They are a combination that works and works pretty well. The media have to play their own part in this as well and instead of just criticising the referee they need to call on FIFA to give the referee all the help he needs so that he has more of a chance to get that call right. On this occasion, FIFA have failed the referee, they have failed to equip him with everything he needs to maximise his chances of calling it right and as a consequence despite him doing everything right he was in the impossible position of not being able to call it right. That is unfair on him, both teams and the paying fans there to watch.

Oh and TV companies – please send all of your pundits on a course to teach them the Laws of the game because in the main they are so embarrassingly clueless and keep on peddling out incorrect information and misconceptions to football fans. This is not helpful and they should take more responsibility to pass on correct and knowledgeable information.


Referee Appointments for the NB1 Match Day 8

FERENCVÁROS v VASAS
2017.09.09 - 18:00
Budapest, Groupama Aréna
Ref: BOGNÁR TAMÁS
4O: HORVÁTH RÓBERT
AR: TÓTH II. VENCEL, BERETTYÁN PÉTER
AAR: ERDŐS JÓZSEF, NÉMETH ÁDÁM

DVSC v DVTK
2017.09.09 - 18:00
Debrecen, Debreceni Nagyerdei Stadion
Ref: BERKE BALÁZS
4O: BECSÉRI GERGELY
AR: GEORGIOU THEODOROS, KÓBOR PÉTER
AAR: MOLNÁR ATTILA, VAD II. ISTVÁN

MEZŐKÖVESD ZSÓRY v BALMAZ KAMILLA GYÓGYFÜRDŐ
2017.09.09 - 18:00
Mezőkövesd, Mezőkövesd Városi Stadion
Ref: FARKAS ÁDÁM
4O: VÍGH-TARSONYI GERGŐ
AR: SZÉCSÉNYI ISTVÁN, SZALAI BALÁZS
AAR: KARAKÓ FERENC, KULCSÁR KATALIN

ÚJPEST v PUSKÁS AKADÉMIA
2017.09.09 - 20:30
Budapest, Szusza Ferenc Stadion
Ref: ANDÓ-SZABÓ SÁNDOR
4O: MEDOVARSZKI JÁNOS
AR: ALBERT ISTVÁN, BUZÁS BALÁZS
AAR: IVÁNYI ZOLTÁN, LOVAS LÁSZLÓ

VIDEOTON v HALADÁS
2017.09.10 - 17:00
Felcsút, Puskás Akadémia Pancho Aréna
Ref: SZŐTS GERGELY
4O: VARGA GÁBOR
AR: MÁRKUS TAMÁS, SZERT BALÁZS
AAR: SOLYMOSI PÉTER, GAÁL GYÖNGYI

PAKS v BUDAPEST HONVÉD
2017.09.10 - 17:00
Paks, Paksi FC Stadion
Ref: PINTÉR CSABA
4O: BECSÉRI GERGELY
AR: LÉMON OSZKÁR, SZALAI DÁNIEL
AAR: SZABÓ ZSOLT, URBÁN ESZTER


2 referee teams appointed to World Cup 2018 Qualifiers

Turkey v Croatia
Group I. 5 September 2017
New Eskisehir Stadium Eskisehir
Referee: Victor Kassai (HUN)
Assistants: Vencel Toth, György Ring (HUN)
Fourth Official: Adam Farkas (HUN)

Serbia v Moldova
2nd September 2017
Group D, 18:00, Belgrade (Serbia)
Referee: Tamás Bognár (Hungary)
Assistant Referee 1: Balázs Buzás (Hungary)
Assistant Referee 2: Theodoros Georgiou (Hungary)
Fourth Official: Ádám Farkas (Hungary)

Meanwhile the match officials have been announced for the National team's 2 forthcoming games:

Hungary v Portugal
3rd September 19.45
Groupama Arena, Budapest
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
AR: Diks, Steegstra
4th: Kevin Blom

Hungary v Latvia
Thursday 31 August, 19:45
Groupama Arena, Budapest
Referee: Yevhen Aranovskyy (Ukraine)
Assistant Referee 1: Oleksandr Voytyuk
Assistant Referee 2: Serhiy Bekker
Fourth Official: Anatoliy Abdula
FIFA Referee Assessor: Jari Maisonlahti (Finland)


Referee Appointments for the NB1 Match Day 7

VASAS v PAKS
2017.08.26 - 18:00
Budapest, Szusza Ferenc Stadion
Ref: BOGNÁR TAMÁS
4O: HORVÁTH RÓBERT
AR: TÓTH II. VENCEL, LÉMON OSZKÁR
AAR: KARAKÓ FERENC, GAÁL GYÖNGYI

BALMAZ KAMILLA GYÓGYFÜRDŐ v ÚJPEST
2017.08.26 - 18:00
Balmazújváros, Balmazújvárosi Városi Stadion
Ref: KASSAI VIKTOR
4O: SZALAI BALÁZS
AR: VARGA ZSOLT, VARGA GÁBOR
AAR: BERKE BALÁZS, URBÁN ESZTER

DVTK v MEZŐKÖVESD ZSÓRY
2017.08.26 - 18:00
Debrecen, Debreceni Nagyerdei Stadion
Ref: ANDÓ-SZABÓ SÁNDOR
4O: MEDOVARSZKI JÁNOS
AR: KIRÁLY KRISZTIÁN, SZERT BALÁZS
AAR: IVÁNYI ZOLTÁN, NÉMETH ÁDÁM

HALADÁS v PUSKÁS AKADÉMIA
2017.08.26 - 18:00
Sopron, Soproni Városi Stadion
Ref: FARKAS ÁDÁM
4O: SZALAI DÁNIEL
AR: RING GYÖRGY, VÍGH-TARSONYI GERGŐ
AAR: SZŐTS GERGELY, KULCSÁR KATALIN

BUDAPEST HONVÉD v DVSC
2017.08.26 - 20:30
Budapest, Bozsik Stadion
Ref: SZABÓ ZSOLT
4O HUSZÁR BALÁZS
AR: GEORGIOU THEODOROS, BECSÉRI GERGELY
AAR: PINTÉR CSABA, SZILASI SZABOLCS

VIDEOTON v FERENCVÁROS
2017.08.27 - 19:30
Felcsút, Puskás Akadémia Pancho Aréna
Ref: SOLYMOSI PÉTER
4O: KEPE ARNOLD
AR: ALBERT ISTVÁN, BUZÁS BALÁZS
AAR: ERDŐS JÓZSEF, MOLNÁR ATTILA


2 Referee teams appointed to Europa League Matches

2 of our Hungarian referee teams out in Europe this week:

Jan Breydelstadion, Bruges (BEL), 20:45 CET
Club Brugge KV (BEL) - AEK Athens FC (GRE)
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: György Ring (HUN)
4th Official: Sándor Andó-Szabó (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Per Eliasson (SWE)
UEFA Referee Observer: Sergey Zuev (RUS)

Borisov Arena, Borisov (BLR), 19:00 CET
FC BATE Borisov (BLR) - FC Olexandriya (UKR)
Referee: Tamás Bognár (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Balázs Buzás (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Theodoros Georgiou (HUN)
4th Official: Ádam Farkas (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Ghenadie Scurtul (MDA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Robert Malek (POL)

Sándor Piller will also be out in this round observing Michael Oliver & team in Cyprus.

Good Luck gents.


Referee Appointments for the NB1 Match Day 6

FERENCVÁROS v HALADÁS
2017.08.17 - 18:00
Budapest, Groupama Aréna
Ref: KARAKÓ FERENC
4O: MÁRKUS TAMÁS
AR: VARGA ZSOLT, SZERT BALÁZS
AAR: BERKE BALÁZS, ZIERKELBACH PÉTER

DVSC v VASAS
2017.08.18 - 19:30
Debrecen, Debrecen Great Hall Stadium
Ref: IVÁNYI ZOLTÁN
4O: MÁRKUS TAMÁS
AR: MEDOVARSZKI JÁNOS, VARGA GÁBOR
AAR: SZŐTS GERGELY, NAGY RÓBERT

MEZŐKÖVESD ZSÓRY v BUDAPEST HONVÉD
2017.08.19 - 18:00
Mezőkövesd, Mezőkövesd Városi Stadion
Ref: ERDŐS JÓZSEF
4O: SZERT BALÁZS
AR: HORVÁTH RÓBERT, VÍGH-TARSONYI GERGŐ
AAR: FARKAS ÁDÁM, TAKÁCS JÁNOS

PUSKÁS AKADÉMIA v BALMAZ KAMILLA GYÓGYFÜRDŐ
2017.08.19 - 18:00
Felcsút, Puskás Akadémia Pancho Aréna
Ref: SOLYMOSI PÉTER
4O: KÓBOR PÉTER
AR: KIRÁLY KRISZTIÁN, HUSZÁR BALÁZS
AAR: ANDÓ-SZABÓ SÁNDOR, ZIERKELBACH PÉTER

ÚJPEST v DVTK
2017.08.19 - 20:30
Budapest, Szusza Ferenc Stadion
Ref: VAD II. ISTVÁN
4O: GEORGIOU THEODOROS
AR: ALBERT ISTVÁN, BERETTYÁN PÉTER
AAR: BERKE BALÁZS, SZABÓ ZSOLT

PAKS v VIDEOTON to be played 6th September KO 19.30