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The Israeli record that will never be broken - Walla! Tokyo 2020 Olympics

2021-07-30T19:15:47.993Z

Menachem Ashkenazi, perhaps the greatest referee in the history of the country, conducted games in Tokyo in 1964 in all the final stages of the competition, including the final itself. That's his story



  • Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Israeli record that will never be broken

Uriel Greenfeld is set to serve as chief referee in Tokyo on Saturday, bringing us back to Menachem Ashkenazi, perhaps the greatest referee in the history of the country, who in 1964 ran games in the same city in all the final stages of the competition, including the final itself.

Asher Goldberg recreates the story of a legendary character

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  • Olympics

  • Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • Tokyo 2020

Asher Goldberg

Sunday, 25 July 2021, 19:00 Updated: Friday, 30 July 2021, 19:00

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Towards Tokyo 2020 (Olympics website)

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games took place on Friday in Tokyo, just like 57 years ago.

The 18th Olympic Games were held in 1964 in the Japanese capital, with the participation of 93 countries and 5,140 athletes.

The Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, announced the opening of the Games, and in the delegation parade, Israel marched between Ireland and Italy.

The flag bearer was Gideon Ariel.



One of those representatives who marched behind Ariel was football referee Menachem Ashkenazi, whom many, especially those of the 1960s generation, consider him our top football referee of all time.

Ashkenazi was born in 1934 in Bulgaria and immigrated to Israel with his family at a very young age.

He played for Hapoel Petah Tikva's youth team, but retired due to injury.

He refereed the training games of the colony's youth and senior teams and successfully completed a football refereeing course, which was recommended to him by former referee Aaron Werner.

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There was no judge in Israel with such a resume.

Menachem Ashkenazi (Photo: National Photo Collection, Moshe Frieden)

The secretary of the legendary referees' association, Fritzie Lindenberger, recommended to the UEFA staff she met in London to pay attention and give a stage to the rising referee. In 1961, the Israeli team played in Leeds against the England team until the age of 23. 7 The Israeli national team under Hungarian coach Gyula Mandy. The game entered the refereeing room of the English FIFA president, Sir Stanley Ross, and there were also plenty of compliments for Ashkenazi's refereeing.

Ross added that Ashkenazi would later be allowed to conduct international games in continental Europe.



Indeed, Ashkenazi has been allowed to judge dozens of international games across the continent.

The big surprise was in early 1964, when FIFA sent a telegram to the football association's offices on Dubnov Street in Tel Aviv inviting him to judge the soccer games at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Ashkenazi said the excitement was huge. .



for the first game in Tokyo was assigned Ashkenazi at a linesman, a draw 1: 1 match between Ghana and Argentina. he was online in two more games. then he sent it to the organizing committee to judge the quarterfinals and surprised with the appointment of a prestigious semi-final between the Czech Republic to East Germany, a game that ended in victory The Czechs 1: 2, while in the second semi-final Hungary defeats KKM, a joint team of Egypt and Syria, 0: 6.

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Menachem Ashkenazi (center) with Avraham Klein and Shmuel Handwarg at the Tokyo Olympics (Photo: Yachz)

Then came the big event.

Ashkenazi spoke in media interviews and in dozens of meetings after returning to Israel about the drama after which he received the prestigious appointment to judge the final game.

"After the semi-final game I realized that the Tokyo episode was over for me," he said, "I went back to the hotel and asked to go out with other refereeing friends in the Japanese capital. The honor of judging the final. I was sure he was from Tel Bey, but he was serious and that's how I got to know him.

He laughed out loud and told me I was crazy, because I got more in Tokyo than any other judge.

He took me down to the boards, I thought it was indeed a prank. "



This was not a hoax.

Lerner hurried to contact Tel Aviv with the organizing committee in Tokyo, which welcomed and approved Ashkenazi's appointment as the Olympic final judge.

About an hour later, Lerner called Ashkenazi's room at a hotel in Tokyo and shouted excitedly: "The best football referees in the world are currently in Tokyo, but you, Menachem, will judge the final as chief referee. Good luck."

What an exciting moment.

Menachem Ashkenazi in tossing the coin before the final game (Photo: Yachz)

75,000 spectators came to the game between Hungary and the Czech Republic, with the name "Menachem Ashkenazi, Israel" appearing on the stadium's electric neon board. The game, which was a stiff opening and accompanied by a lot of physical injuries, calmed down a few minutes later after warnings were given to both captains. Farkash and her son conquered Hungary, Bromowski scored for the Czechs. Hungary won 1: 2 and won the gold medal. Ashkenazi wore on his neck a gold medal of his own for glory. He intended to take the game ball as a souvenir, but the Hungarian captain preceded it, took the ball, kissed it and in moving tears asked to take it to Budapest. The Israeli judge agreed.



Sir Ross entered the dressing room.

Ashkenazi was quick to thank him for the trust and choice, but Ross was quick to reply "You should not thank me. I am the one who must thank you. Thank you for an excellent refereeing display. It was the best referee I have ever seen in a final match of an Olympic football tournament. At the 1966 World Cup in England, you can start packing, see you in London. "



Indeed, at the 1966 World Cup in England, Ashkenazi refereed the historic game in which the North Korean team led 0: 3 over the Portuguese team, before Yozvio and his teammates made a comeback and won 3: 5.

World fame led the professional league in America to invite Ashkenazi to become a professional referee in the United States, in the league in which Pele and Motella Spiegler played.

Ashkenazi stayed with his family in America for a number of years and when the league there declined in size, he returned to Israel and retired from judging in 1984.

He died in 2000 at the age of 66.

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Source: walla

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