Solymosi becomes a record holder! Solymosi Péter sets new NBI referee record

Hungarian Version

Congratulations to Solymosi Péter who will referee his 324th NBI match in the game DVTK v Mol Fehérvár (09.05.21 – 17.30).  He will set a new record for the most NBI games refereed, beating Kassai Viktor’s previous record of 323 games. An absolutely fantastic achievement.

Mr Solymosi’s NBI career began way back in season 2000/2001 when he debuted as a 4th official on 21st April 2001 in a match between Videoton v Vasas.  Interestingly the referee that day was Szabó Zsolt. Solymosi Péter and Szabó Zsolt would go on to make history together in February 2018 as they became the first referees to continue in the top flight  after the age of 45. The MLSZ relaxed their previous strict retirement age in December 2017 to bring it line with FIFA’s policy.  FIFA had relaxed their retirement age in December 2014, implemented from season 2015/16. Along with Solymosi Péter and Szabó Zsolt, Takács János was also allowed to continue refereeing and remains an NBII referee who is regularly seen as AAR in the NBI.

Szabó Zsolt has the record for the 3rd highest NBI matches as referee with 321 games.

Solymosi Péter made his NBI debut as referee on 10th April 2002, in a match between MTK Budapest v FC Sopron.  On that date he was assisted by Hrabovszky András and Tumó György as his ARs and Heibl József as 4th Official.  He equalled Szabó Zsolt’s 321 matches 19 years to the day on 10th April 2021 in a match again involving MTK Budapest. This time it was MTK Budapest v Budafok MTE.

In total he has participated in 476 NBI games to date. 323 as referee (játékvezető); 4 as Assistant Referee (Asszisztensek); 132 as AAR (Alapvonali játékvezető) & 17 as 4th Official (tartalék játékvezető). Yellow Cards: 1297; Red Cards: 71 

His full career stats across the NBIII – NBI is 639 matches in total plus 52 international matches. Yellow Cards: 1613; Red Cards: 94

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or knows me either in real life of via some form of social media knows I have an absolute hatred of yellow and in particular yellow referee shirts, if I had my way they would be banned immediately! They are vile! As a result I do have a bit of an obsession with the shirt colours worn. I only have his shirt stats from 2012/13 – current.

Since 2012/13 he has refereed 177 games – Black shirt: 57; Blue shirt: 42; Red shirt: 38; Yellow shirt: 40 <—that latter one is 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! Also it should be noted that was the season where his disciplinary statistics were at their highest. In 25 matches he issued 132 yellow cards, 11 red cards and gave 13 penalties.  A higher total and per match average (5.28 for yellow cards and 0.44 for red cards) than any other season. His overall average is 4.02 for yellow cards and 0.22 for red cards, 3.91 and 0.2 respectively with that season’s removed. Adds to my point that yellow shirts are vile and should be banned!!

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.

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. 

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.

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