Referee Leo Horn dyk

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Intl. since
business man
horse riding, hunting
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cat killer


Leo Horn went to Chile to officiate at the 1962 World Cup finals. It came a bit of a shock to the fairly rich businessman when he found out he had to share his hotel room in Santiago with referees Ken Aston and Robert Davidson. The Englishman Aston even snored and Horn laid awake listening to him.

In Arica, for the quarter-final, Horn shared a room with Czechoslovakian ref Karol Galba.

The day after he arrived Horn managed to get hold of the list of designated referees. He shared it with his colleagues in his hotel, long before they were supposed to know their matches.

The balls, made in Chile, that they were going to use were not good enough according to the refs. The balls scaled and would become too heavy in the rain. FIFA decided to use them anyway but if necessary replace them with Swedish balls. Against the rules in those days because a game had to end with the same ball as the one it started with.

In his book Horn describes the Chileans as nice and friendly, even pious people until they enter the stadium, then they turn into devils, throwing abuses and bottles and fighting amongst each other, even the women.

Lots of stories survive Leo Horn, some true, some maybe true.

Leo Horn, impatiently, once took a corner shot himself, because the player took too long. He once stopped play to applaud a great action by a player (Eusebio, EC final Benfica- Real Madrid, 1962), he has slapped a supporter who had criticized him and kicked Willem van Hanegem (Feyenoord) in the butt.

In a 1966 match in Leeds between Leeds United and Valencia, Horn sent off both teams to have them come back fifteen minutes later to resume play. Jackie Charlton and Francisco Vidagany, however, never came back on the field, having been sent off by the ref.

Horn was the first referee to wear a shirt that wasn't black. Being a textile man he was fashion conscious and said that referees should always look sharp.

He once sent a letter to FIFA arguing that referees were not respected enough by the international football authorities. For instance he demanded 5 star hotels.

As an avid hunter Leo Horn once shot a domestic cat belonging to the children of a nearby farm. He claimed the animal was wild and happened to jump in front of his rifle.
The incident was all over the papers and for a long time audiences made cat noises whenever he appeared on a field.

In a match against Switzerland, Uruguayan player Miguez refused to leave the field. The Uruguayan ambassador to Switzerland tried a helping hand convincing the player to obey, but still Miguez stayed and started threatening Horn. Then two Uruguayan coaches came, hit Miguez and dragged him off. During the dinner after the match the president of the Uruguay Football Federation told Horn he had been the first ever referee who had dared to send off the (in)famous player.

They must have liked him (and his style) because three times Leo Horn took charge of an England - Scotland match for the British Home Championships. Matches with more than a 100.000 spectators.
They liked him in South America as well. Not only did he take charge of the final (actually a final play-off since both teams had won a leg) of the Copa Libertadores Santos - Penarol, he also got an offer from Uruguay to come to referee over there. They had professional referees in Uruguay and Horn could have made a lot of money (his words), but not as much as he did with his business.

Horn once lead a match on horseback. A match between local journalists. His horse was called Midas and Horn considered him a son and wrote a whole chapter in his book about his love for that horse just to show animal lovers who criticized him for his prolific hunting (and the shooting a a domestic cat), that he was a real animal lover himself.

Horn served as a liaison for Ajax for visiting referees. Often he took them to a sex cub called Yab Yum (now closed by the mayor) the night before the match. (see Antonio Sbardella)

From our reporter: EPV