- miniszterelnok.hu - http://www.miniszterelnok.hu/prime-minister-viktor-orbans-speech-at-the-opening-ceremony-for-the-puskas-academy-sports-and-conference-centre/ -

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the opening ceremony for the Puskás Academy Sports and Conference Centre

Allow me to also welcome our guests, and to particularly welcome – perhaps before everyone else – Sándor Csányi, President of the Hungarian Football Federation. Thank you, Sándor, for coming here to be with us, thus also proving that what is happening here is important not only for us – though it is, of course, the most important for us – but is an event that is equally important in terms of the future of Hungarian football as a whole. Thank you for accepting the invitation.

We have partner academies in areas beyond the borders – from Dunaszerdahely to Sepsiszentgyörgy – and some of their representatives are here today. Without mentioning names, I would also like to welcome them. Thank you for coming. The day before yesterday I presented awards to entrepreneurs, including the best entrepreneurs from territories beyond the borders. A friend of ours called Diószegi, who is a baker and the owner and sponsor of the Sepsiszentgyörgy football team, had the honour of receiving an award. I learnt a great deal from him that evening when he addressed us briefly, quoting one of our poet laureates Sándor Kányádi – who recently passed away – as follows: “I am not a Hungarian from beyond the borders, but a Hungarian without borders.” The fact that we have sister academies beyond the borders means that we here at the academy in Felcsút are all Hungarians without borders.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My job would have been easier here this afternoon if yesterday Mr. Kleinheisler – also known as “Scholes” – or little Sallai had slotted a goal or two past the Greek keeper. It’s easier to argue for an academy if its former students make their mark in the national team. But regrettably they did not hit the net, and so we went down yesterday. In my defence, however, I can say that a few weeks ago each of them scored a goal against the Greeks – albeit here, in Budapest.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Their performance tells us that if academies do their job well, in a number of sports we can launch the careers of talented young players who will fill us all with pride. This week I was able to open a basketball academy in Pécs, where an academy has been built around that doyen of Hungarian basketball coaches, László Rátgéber – and as you know, all academies are built around great personalities. Here with us today is Lajos Mocsai, around whom we’ve built a handball academy. The footballing founder of this academy was in fact György Mezey – I was only, how shall I put it, his supervising assistant. He should be here – though you know that he very rarely accepts anyone’s invitation. He isn’t here, but God bless him, because without him we couldn’t be here today and we wouldn’t be able to train talented young people for Hungarian sport. And soon academies will also be built for other sports: this depends on how quickly we can come to an agreement with Katalin Kovács, the queen of Hungarian kayak-canoe, and with Katinka Hosszú – who perhaps today is working to ensure that the Hungarian flag is raised and the national anthem is played in honour of the Hungarian people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In addition to these official greetings, the essence of my message today is how history has shown the Hungarians that the battle fought for the future will be won by those with a vision. The word “vision” can be understood in Hungarian in a number of ways: for instance as fantasy, illusion or apparition. To us here at the Puskás Academy it means that we have a fixed image of the future, and this image also comes with a solid and detailed action plan. This vision is positive, and we create it for ourselves.

Dear Guests,

As you can see, we not only envisage a better situation than exists today; that’s the easy part. We don’t merely fantasise about it; that’s even easier. But we also see the means and the path that will take us there. Perhaps the older people here remember that this was impossible earlier. In Hungary before 2010 the mandatory lesson was that we must “dare to be small”. Since 2010 our approach has changed: we’ve raised our heads high, we’ve straightened our backs, and we can see our future. This is not only true for athletes, but perhaps for the whole of Hungary. For this we needed to have faith in ourselves, and we did indeed start believing that we’re able to change the world – or at least that we’re able to change our own world. It is good to be able to see that the world should be changed, but the question is how it should be changed: how we should shape the future to our advantage. When one seeks answers to questions such as this, one can turn not only to philosophers and historians, but also to athletes. Thanks to György Szöllösi, who is also here with us, I often cite stories about our uncle Ferenc “Kid” Puskás. From these one can learn a great deal about how we must do things in a way that no one else can. According to one anecdote, Kid Puskás once gave his answer to this in the following way. One day it was raining, the pitch was wet, with puddles everywhere, everyone was slipping and sliding, and passes and shots were getting stuck in the mud or spinning wide of the mark. According to this old story, only Puskás seemed to be ignoring the poor conditions: his passes were spot on, and all of his shots were scorchers. Our great poet Zoltán Zelk regularly went to matches, and afterwards he liked to spend time with the players in a coffee bar. He is one of the sources of this story. So in the coffee bar after the match the poet and supporter Zoltán Zelk asked old uncle “Kid”: “Tell me, Kid, how is it that everyone else’s passes got stuck in the puddles or flew way past their target, while yours always skimmed along the surface of the water? How do you do it? What’s the technique?” To this old uncle “Kid” replied, “You’ve got to kick it that way, my dear artist friend.” Well, this is the situation, Ladies and Gentlemen: a well-conceived future must be conceived well; we mustn’t totter, slide and stumble, as some European leaders are doing today. We Hungarians must simply say, “It’s got to be done this way, you dummies, and then we can move forward.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This inauguration ceremony is further proof that we are gradually rising up to the standard set by the man after whom this academy was named. Since there are many young people here, if you’ll allow me I’d like to say a few words about another serious matter. The future of Hungary and Hungarians grows within our children, and our vision becomes reality in and through them. Dear Friends, without children all our grand plans will be like a castle in the air. There is an arithmetic to life, and that arithmetic is ruthless: if our people perishes, that castle will not be Hungarian; and for the last Hungarians alive it will be their prison. There are some in Europe who are preparing for this. Pay careful attention: when Brussels bureaucrats speak about the future of the continent, they dig a grave for us indigenous Europeans, and in general they sing the praises of those who come here after us – those who come here to replace us. This is their vision. This is a vision of the future, a European future, which we Hungarians do not accept. Instead we are focused on raising our own future generations. Succession, therefore, is a primary national cause. This is how great things – the future of Europe and the future of Hungary – are linked to the life of our little academy. As raising future generations is a national cause, this masterwork we see here is not merely a sports complex – or “infrastructure”, as the specialists say. The most important mission of the Puskás Academy Sports and Conference Centre is raising future generations. Here we are not manufacturing footballers or programming droids, but we have created a power hub where, we hope, heroes will be born and will mature.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Often there arises the question of why the many buildings forming the body of the Puskás Academy create such an artistic impression, and why they are of such artistic value: they could be plainer, simpler, more ordinary, more functional – and perhaps cheaper. We have a concept and a philosophy about football, however: in our opinion football is simultaneously a sport, a science and an art. Therefore it is important that everything that surrounds our children is a combination of these three aspects: the discipline of sport; the mind of science; and the spirit of art. If we succeed in convincing you that football is, in fact, an art form, and everything that surrounds you communicates that, I am convinced that you will sooner be able overtake the similarly gifted young people of other countries. Here at this academy we build our work on this philosophy. Not everyone believes in this philosophy. I am relatively confident, because I have done my sums. According to my calculations, there are eight reputable, professionally sound academies doing valuable work in Hungary’s top division. Eight academies. If every ten years each academy produces two international-level players capable of playing in the top division, then that is precisely sixteen players – which is enough for a European-level Hungarian squad. All we need is for every academy to produce every ten years just two players who are able to hold their own on the international scene – no more than that. I can tell you that we have come to the end of our first ten years, and we have completed that task: Sallai, Kleinheisler. As we’ve seen in the past few weeks, if everyone matches that effort there will be a Hungarian national team.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like to tell you that, in addition to professional athletes, this hall will also be used by students from the local Letenyey Lajos Secondary School and the children of the Vál Valley who participate in the Bozsik Programme. In addition to physical education classes, the indoor court will also host the Bozsik Programme’s winter indoor tournaments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The facility we are now inaugurating could also become a knowledge centre. To this end, it features a large 250-seat hall and a conference centre with a smaller lecture hall. I hope this will be a perfect venue for discussion forums related not only to football, but also to other sports.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One other important thing is happening here today: the University of Physical Education and the Puskás Ferenc Football Academy will sign an agreement on the dual career model. The essence of the dual career model is that here at the academy we channel children who are so inclined into careers in teaching. The Felcsút sports complex already provides children studying here the opportunity to acquire another career for the future, in addition to a career in football. We are grateful to the University of Physical Education, and we are particularly indebted to Lajos Mocsai.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope that other academies will also follow our example.

And finally, Dear Academy Students, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests, nothing remains other than to thank the developers for their vision, the designers for an outstanding concept, the contractors for their thorough work, and the donors for their money.

Go for it Hungary, go for it Puskás!