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OFFICIAL: Hungarian Viktor Kassai to officiate Cairo derby


(Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai has been chosen to officiate the Cairo derby between Zamalek and Al Ahly on Thursday, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced.

This marks the second time that the Hungarian referee officiates the Cairo derby as he refereed last season’s clash between the Egyptian giants, which ended in a 2-0 win for Al Ahly.

EFA board member Essam Abdel-Fattah revealed that he had preferred appointing English referee Mark Clattenburg for Thursday’s clash but couldn’t due to objection from the English FA.

“He [Clattenburg] initially accepted to officiate the game but the English FA rejected as they don’t allow their referees to officiate games in other domestic leagues,” Abdel-Fattah said in a radio show.

Abdel-Fattah reached out to the English FA and tried to convince them otherwise but he eventually failed. He added that Clattenburg ranked No.1 in the 2016 referees’ standings issued by The International Federation of Football History & Statistics, while Kassai is third.

Kassai made history during Kashima Antlers and Atletico Nacional game at the FIFA Club World Cup earlier in December, as he became the first referee to award a penalty after using video replay.

He refereed the 2011 UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United, which ended with a 3-1 win for the Spanish side.

The 41-year-old also officiated four matches in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, including the semi-final match between Germany and Spain, which saw the Spanish claim a 1-0 triumph.

League leaders Al Ahly will look to extend their lead at the top of the league when they face Zamalek in gameweek 17. Meanwhile, third-placed Zamalek, who played two games less than Al Ahly, will be aiming to collect the three points to close the eight-point gap with the Red Castle.

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