July 28, 2021

in the land of Viktor Orban, football is king

In Felcsut, a small town west of Budapest, Viktor Orban realized a childhood dream in the village of part of his childhood. In 2012, the Hungarian Prime Minister built a 3,816-seat football stadium there. A road separates the Orban country house from this incongruous facility for a town of 1,800 inhabitants.

A badly framed shot would risk sending the ball into the garden of the Prime Minister, in power since 2010. There is little chance that he will overturn the family barbecue. Indeed, the patriarch attends all the matches of the Puskas Akadémia, the resident professional team of the place, of which he was one of the co-founders in the mid-2000s. ‘train the hundred or so young players from the academy of the same name.

Read also Euro 2021: Hungary, all about the team

“This stage is above all the realization of pharaonic investments. What is this money used for when the majority of the team’s players have not been trained on the spot? “, asks Akos Hadhazy, member of Fidesz, Orban’s party, until 2013, but has since become a tireless contemptor of power.

“The objective is not really achieved”

The financing of this sports arena raises questions. According to the site 24.hu, the management foundation of the Felcsut club received 32.2 billion forints (approximately 90 million euros) through a mechanism established in 2011 by the Orban government, the TAO (Corporation Tax Allowance): a tax exemption in counterpart of private investment in sport.

In comparison, the historic clubs of Ferencvaros and Ujpest received 8 and 11 million euros in the same way. And what about the modest Fönix Gold FC, from which emerges the new jewel of Hungarian football, Dominik Szoboszlai (now at RB Leipzig), decisive scorer for the qualification of the Magyars to Euro 2021. In ten years, his training club n ‘got a million euros.

Read also: How those close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban get richer thanks to EU funds

Another component of the project is the tourist railway line inaugurated in 2016 linking Puskas Akadémia to the neighboring town of Alcsutdoboz. This little train, almost ghost, has captured 2 million euros in credits from the European Union and has been operating at a loss since, according to the investigation site Atlatszo. “Orban and his friends wanted to present their project as a private initiative. In the end, they failed to conceal that it was made with taxpayer money and European funds., tance Akos Hadhazy. He wanted to make this place a laboratory for the resurrection of Hungarian football. The goal is not really achieved. ”

You have 66.98% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.