Remembering Hungary's refereeing great Sándor Puhl
Thursday, May 20, 2021
The Hungarian referee Sándor Puhl, who took charge of finals in both the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League, has died at the age of 65.
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Miskolc-born Puhl, who began his top-flight Hungarian refereeing career in 1984 and earned his FIFA badge in 1988, rose to prominence in the 1990s. He refereed at major European and international tournaments, and was also a regular in the top European club competitions. During the decade, he was honoured with various referees’ awards.
Puhl’s first major final arrived in 1993, when he refereed the UEFA Cup final first leg between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus in Germany, which Juventus won 3-1 on the way to a 6-1 aggregate victory.
World Cup honour
In 1994, Puhl was chosen to take charge of the FIFA World Cup final between Brazil and Italy in Pasadena, United States, which the Brazilians won in a penalty shootout after the match had finished in a goalless draw after extra time.
Three years later, Puhl reached the summit of his European refereeing career when he officiated at the UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. Dortmund took the title with a 3-1 success at the Olympiastadion in Munich. He ended his international career in 2000.
Following his career, Puhl continued to be involved in refereeing, and was vice-chairman of the Hungarian Football Federation’s (MLSZ) referees committee from 2010. He also worked as a referee observer for UEFA. “He enjoyed the appreciation of domestic and international football,” said the MLSZ. Puhl was also an honorary citizen of the Hungarian towns of Ernőd and Eger.
'My idol and my great friend' - Roberto Rosetti
UEFA Referees Committee chairman and former Italian international referee Roberto Rosetti paid a special tribute. “Sándor Puhl was my idol and my great friend,” he said. “He was a referee of immense talent, whose skills in handling players on the field and calm response to the pressures of refereeing major football occasions deservedly brought him recognition and renown at the highest levels of the European and world game.”
“I have so much to thank Sándor for in my own career as a referee,” added Rosetti, who took charge of the UEFA EURO 2008 final between Germany and Spain in Vienna . “His constant advice and encouragement was invaluable in helping me to make progress, and it was always a great privilege to share his company. I am deeply saddened by his passing, and offer my sincere condolences to his family.”