“This is a prominent event for Hungarian football because whenever the Kispest team did well so did Hungarian football as a whole”, the Prime Minister stated, and pointed out that the Hungarian government supports the idea that every school child should participate in sports because “every nation will be reflected in its youth”.
Turning to the students of the academy, Mr Orbán, who wore the Kispest team’s scarf, said what is most important for them is to become good competitors because if they learn to be good competitors, they will have learnt everything they need in life.
“Honvéd FC is the club where the word ‘owner’ should indeed be written with a capital O. If he had not bought Honvéd, things over here may have easily taken a turn where one of the most prestigious clubs of Hungarian football would have disappeared from the face of the earth”, Mr Orbán said about Mr Hemingway, and spoke about the eras hallmarked by Puskás, Tichy, Détári and their team mates when the national team relied upon Honvéd.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the students of the Hungarian Football Academy have won the Puskás Suzuki Cup five times, they have won more than twenty junior championship titles, more than sixty of them have become top-level footballers, and four of them have had the privilege of introducing themselves on the national team. He added that Hungarian football also had Honvéd to thank for the current manager of the national team in the person of Marco Rossi.
“Hungarian football should aspire to nothing less than repeating the success of Puskás and his team”, Mr Orbán said in conclusion.
Mr Hemingway highlighted that the negligence of 30 to 40 years had led so far that when in the summer of 2006 he bought the club and visited the Bozsik Stadium, he saw a rat out in the open air for the first time in his life.
“In recent years sports subsidies have been provided on an unprecedented scale. The new complex of the Hungarian Football Academy is part of this process, and it would never have come into being without the Hungarian government’s support”, he stressed.
The club owner said he was lucky because another man, Viktor Orbán, who was not yet prime minister at the time, had similarly ambitious plans for Felcsút, a place not far from Budapest, where he established the Puskás Ferenc Football Academy, and these two institutions together with MTK’s Sándor Károly Academy in Agárd have become the three bastions of Hungarian football.
The ceremony was also attended by Sándor Csányi, President of the Hungarian Football Federation, Tünde Szabó, Minister of State for Sports, and Péter Gajda, Mayor of Kispest.
The Hungarian Football Academy had previously operated in the Bozsik Stadium which is currently awaiting refurbishment. The new complex is located just over a kilometre away from Honvéd’s home: from Temesvár Street the Bozsik József Promenade leads to the facility which includes, in addition to a cross-country track, seven standard-sized football pitches, two of which feature artificial grass. These were named after the team’s former legends: Ferenc Puskás, László Budai II, Lajos Détári, Mihály Kozma, József Bozsik, Lajos Tichy and Sándor Kocsis. The eighth field consists of five-a-side pitches. The central building features a work-out gymnasium, while there are double rooms for players.