After his early return from Euro 2012, Viktor Kassai took part in a press conference at the Hungarian FA headquarters in Budapest. He was joined in the discussions by former FIFA World Cup referees Karoly Palotai and Sandor Puhl.
Former Olympic champion and three times (1974, 1978, 1982) World Cup referee Karoly Palotai emphasized that Viktor Kassai and his team, aside from the considerable media interest in underlying fault, superbly led their matches at Euro 2012; however, the error is always possible and belongs to the referees’ work. According to Palotai, UEFA and FIFA will not forget Kassai’s excellent results in recent years and the error from England – Ukraine will not affect his career in the long run. Palotai remembered that, many years ago, he wrongly disallowed a goal at the end of a Hungarian derby Gyor – Ferencvaros and that error played a major role in making him the World Cup referee he became later.
Sandor Puhl, who refereed the 1994 FIFA World Cup final, Italy – Brazil, and was voted four times the world's best referee, said that there will always be errors in refereeing. “First, it should be clear that a serious human mistake happened, which should not have been. However, under high pressure, it was a very difficult task to judge that the ball crossed the goal line by a few centimetres in a fraction of a second. Lessons should be learned, to move forward and build on from what happened. I cannot remember a single match without any errors. There will be errors as long as the human factor plays a role in football, and they must be accepted”, said Puhl, who demonstrated how difficult it was for the additional assistant referee Istvan Vad to judge whether the ball entirely crossed the goal line after a shot from the Ukrainians.
Viktor Kassai specified that, according to UEFA policies, he cannot discuss specific match situations, but readily responded to general questions. “After the match, we watched the video, analyzed the situation and immediately realized that we made mistakes. We tried to find the cause, but according to the requirements of UEFA, the referee's own decisions cannot be made public. It was very unfortunate that a single erroneous judgement was fatal for us, after we performed very well in 99% of the match. Every referee on the field of play has to judge live situation, in a fraction of a second, with centimetres to be decided, without having different camera angles and replay images”, said the world’s best referee in 2011. “We have no reason to hide, as long as we also made other very good decisions. My refereeing team was composed of the best officials; my colleagues have demonstrated their qualifications many times over the last few years and many times it happened that their help saved me an error. We bear the consequences together, as well as the successes, and we must move over together. It is all about the trust. If we have another match tomorrow, I will accept my assistants without any doubt and will accept their decisions in similar situations. All members of our team were fully prepared and I consider them the best in the business. There is no doubt that the error was not good for us, but we cannot stay long on the floor; new tasks await us, and we, as professionals, must continue our work”, underlined Kassai. “Since 2007, we got important appointments every year: the U-20 World Cup, the 2008 Olympic Games final, the U-17 World Cup semi-final, the 2010 World Cup semi-final, the 2011 UEFA Champions League final and the big match Spain – Italy at Euro 2012. We built ourselves a very good reputation in the international football, but that also brought higher expectations from us. Unfortunately, as it happens with the teams, there are defeats. We are extremely disappointed and very affected by this issue. However, it should be remembered that our team also achieved success and we should stand together as a team. I can hardly bear what happened, because we know that many people trust us. What has happened is something that we cannot change. It was an erroneous judgment that had ended the European Championship for us, as it was considered as a big mistake. However, I am sure that that all members of our team will build their strength from this failure and next season we can again prove that people can trust us as referees”, said Viktor Kassai.