Generous gifts with government assistance to Viktor Orbán’s football academy

Back to Felcsút, the village in which Viktor Orbán grew up. The occasion for the revisit is the news that the Ferenc Puskás Football Academy founded by Viktor Orbán received almost 3 billion forints from private donations. These gifts are encouraged by the latest tax code that allows businesses to deduct gifts to certain sports: football, handball, basketball, water polo, and hockey. Thus, in the form of lost revenues, the government kicks in quite a bit of money to these sports.

Not long ago Heti Válasz published an article about the incredible wealth that has accumulated in the village of Felcsút in the last few years. Visiting the official website of Felcsút, one has the feeling that not much is going on in the place. The website claims that Felcsút has an online paper and urges you to click on the title to read it. Click, click, no newspaper. Under “Services” we find a post office, a pharmacy, a doctor’s office, four small stores that sell mainly food, a nursery, and an establishment where one can rent a room. Almost all of these are located on Fő utca (Main Street).

The village itself is very well maintained. It was during the first Orbán administration that an incredible amount of government money was poured into Felcsút. The Orbán family bought a few hectares of land and built a second home in the village. But perhaps even more important, Viktor Orbán founded with 100,000 forints of his own money a football academy for youngsters which with the permission of Ferenc Puskás’s family was named after the famed Hungarian football player. By now the academy has its own high school, dormitory, museum, several football fields, a wellness hotel, and who knows what else. Most of the buildings were designed by Imre Makowecz. Anyone who would like to learn more about this academy should visit its website which is also available in English and German.

Viktor Orbán’s foundation with its initial capital of 100,000 forints is doing exceedingly well. The Foundation spent at least 600 million forints buying up land to build football fields and is currently planning a stadium designed by Makowecz’s students since the master died about a year ago. Most of the money at the Foundation’s disposal comes from gifts encouraged by the Orbán government tax allowance. It is almost as if it were designed to enrich the Puskás Academy. The possibility of giving untaxed money for sports was introduced in 2011, and among the sports covered not surprisingly football received the most money. Hungarian football in the last year and a half received 21 billion forints while only 7.9 billion forints went to  hockey, basketball, water polo, handball, and the Hungarian Olympic Committee combined. So, football is very much favored. After all, supporters know that this sport is the prime minister’s passion and therefore it is natural that the most generous gifts go to the Ferenc Puskás Academy run by the foundation established by Viktor Orbán himself.

In comparison, the other football clubs received relatively little money. The largest amount went to Debrecen (526 million) and the smallest to Győr (158 million).  Not that Felcsút’s academy is poor. Far from it. It turns out that besides football Viktor Orbán also likes railroads. Once upon a time there was a railroad station in Felcsút along the Bicske-Székesfehérvár line. This particular line was closed in 1979, and in 2009 it was put up for sale. The academy bought a part of the line between Alcsút-Felcsút and Vértesacsa together with two railroad stations. They immediately began the restoration of the Alcsút-Felcsút building that now functions as a restaurant and hotel. As for the railway, the academy will run “nostalgia train rides” on the line. The line, however, must be restored and this might mean an investment of another 250 million forints. But there is no lack of money in Felcsút

Here are before and after pictures of the Alcsút-Felcsút railroad station.

Alcsút-Felcsút railroad station, 2006.02.25
Photo by Csaba Faltusz / www.vasutallomasok.hu

Alcsút-Felcsút railroad station restored, 2012.12.12
Photo by Nándor Somay / www.vasutallomasok.hu

Lőrinc Mészáros, mayor of Felcsút and director of the Academy, explains all this as the Academy’s contribution to the people who live in the neighborhood of the Academy. It is a public duty to save buildings and to maintain the arboretum nearby. Most of the money, however, is spent on what is basically a business venture. After all, the Puskás Academy is not exactly free. According to someone who knows the situation, the monthly tuition is 50-60,000 forints.

From a map of Felcsút we can see that the land and the buildings of the Academy and the Orbáns’ own property (their house and several hectares of land) are adjacent. Almost as if it were one big holding. Perhaps Viktor Orbán is making a private little football paradise for himself where he can spend his retirement.

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Paul
Guest

Thanks for remembering it’s called ‘football’, Éva!

If anyone wants to get a good idea of the scale of this football academy of Orbán’s, put ‘Felcsút’ into Google satelite and have a look at the north of the village. There are six full-sized pitches already laid out (a couple of which look like all-weather surfaces), and space for at least three more.

I don’t think even the biggest English Premier clubs have this many training pitches!

petofi
Guest

Does it take any sort of imagination to realize that ‘tax breaks’ are deductions from the government coffers? Hence, moneys paid by firms to soccer outfits are directly related to not having enough funds to pay…teachers, for example..

Why isn’t the MSZP taking out full-page adds on these facts?

Guest

Re government contributions: Next year performing arts cultural institutions will be divided into 3 groups: the very big (the Opera, the National Theater, etc), ‘famous’ groups, and ‘other’. I fear that the ‘other’ groups, now minimally funded, will find no monies left for them. One group (in the ‘other’ category) has gotten 11 million fts this year–interesting to compare with the amounts provided for football. (But then, I’m not interested in football.)

petofi
Guest

Gretchen :
Re government contributions: Next year performing arts cultural institutions will be divided into 3 groups: the very big (the Opera, the National Theater, etc), ‘famous’ groups, and ‘other’. I fear that the ‘other’ groups, now minimally funded, will find no monies left for them. One group (in the ‘other’ category) has gotten 11 million fts this year–interesting to compare with the amounts provided for football. (But then, I’m not interested in football.)

Don’t be surprised about the football amount. Isn’t that Orban’s own outfit? Isn’t there a touch of conflict of interest in all this?
Anything goes in Orban’s Hungary…

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Of course, there is a conflict of interest. When contributions to cultural establishment cannot be deducted from taxable income, I think that the exception of certain sports is really outrageous.

The one-sidedness of this particular ‘Orban Law’ is especially ridiculous when we see sportsmen and women leaving the country for non-support.

Again, where is the continuous pr work of the opposition highlighting these ridiculous discrepancies?
(Too busy pocketing the available cash, I suppose..)

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

At least private money is invested in a traditional national game and not governement money. and it stays spent in hungary and not in switzerland or socialist coffers.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

Nice station restauration hope some other buildings will be fixed so people start feeling they are building a new nation and dont forget the old richness they had and lost of criminal governements

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

and restauration gives jobs to craftmen who do not live of the governement jobs .,who cares where the money comes from as long as it gives jobs to hungaryans and atracts turism.and now from the west and not the governement and party members from the east,for example the hadik hotel had notices in spanish so the officers army of cuba could keep the doors closed

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

who paid for those holidays ….your socialist party with your money ja ja

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

what do you mean free just give me one example of something for nothing beside air and if viktor is planning for his retirment he is not waiting for some party to finance his old age retirment plan things would be different if everybody would think that way instead of the governement having to save for them

petofi
Guest

Bernard De Raadt :
what do you mean free just give me one example of something for nothing beside air and if viktor is planning for his retirment he is not waiting for some party to finance his old age retirment plan things would be different if everybody would think that way instead of the governement having to save for them

Viktor’s retirement funds are just fine, thank you…ask the Azeris.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

as far as me viktor is a smat guy you should do the same instead of looking at others doing and crying because youv did nothing dont look around just worry about yourself governements change look back in your truly amazing history lookup for your family givr them a good education tell them to stand on their own feet dont expect others to help you ,if they do fine but don count on it.

petofi
Guest

Bernard De Raadt :
At least private money is invested in a traditional national game and not governement money. and it stays spent in hungary and not in switzerland or socialist coffers.

Only a dodo Troll like you would be unable to connect that tax deductions are lost income for the government.
Hence, the money DOES come from the government, but indirectly.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

sure give all your money to the governement they know how to invest ite instead of yourself ja ja your truly dod

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

your best investment is in yourself learn a second language please not russian or a third chinese for examplevisit other countries keep good friends and cultivate them enjoy your stay on this planet time is short tell a joke at least once a day never take life to seriously,this example was how my friend gyula nagy fay got to live 105 good years even as an expatriate enemy of the hungarian people because he was a land owner.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

the tax money is yours who hand it over to the governement for missusing it

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

dodotroll does not hide his real name like others……..

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

my english does not register dodo troll please explain in plain english even if is a dirty word thanks I always am prepared for some new vocaublary ja ja

Lutra lutra
Guest

With all due respect Bern, “don’t look around just worry about yourself” is a little bit smug. We do care about our Hungarian friends who are in their fifties, have no job and will probably never have one again; we do worry about pensioners whose children can’t afford to give them a helping hand when things break down and the big bills come in.

Orbán can’t have it both ways. If the message is “you can’t rely on the government to support you” then he should roll back the state’s ownership of activities that the private sector does better and cheaper. If he is genuinely creating a new statist model then he should give tax breaks and subsidies for adult education and retraining, not acting like some Menelaus.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

I have visitedHungarya few times and have had trouble finding bilingual contact in german english or spanish hotels do not have somebody to carry your luggage service in restaurant are so so and you feel they aredoing you a favor ,you are rigth over 50 in most countries is very difficult to find a job but belive me its not impossible if you change your atitude that the governement should care for you I gladly would have given a good tip for a fellow who carrys my bags upstair in a hotel of 3 stars because of problems with my feet,I do not say viktor is an angel but your country spent tax money in educating him so maybe you should start more private schools and teach how to be a real hungaryan and stand not live on the hard earned money of each individual.In this era of comunications jobs are plenty in all sort of new areas ^ I am75 years old and still going to classes on computing in southamerica

Lutra lutra
Guest

Oops, apologies, I meant Maecenas and, of course, improving the educational state of Hungary isn’t all he could bestow the country’s weakth on.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest
It will take some generations to to get educated and smart governement in place for the time being its what is available its the people who will change their attitude and starting with taking control over their navigation in the rigth direction becouse governemnts are made of people and if they are not honest its because they let the getaway with it wich ie the case of a governement that takes away property and never return it and then sells it to other has a name by the way it is a family expirience from my friend gyula nagy fay he tols me that his father got a inheitance and comented that he was thinking in sendin some to switzerland and his uncle said a hungaryan would never do that andd his father invested in another hectares to his farm his father lived with his wife on the mercy of his ex helpers in a room with no facilties when the socialist took over and never so a cent ,gyula was an officer in the russian front he never got a penny ffor his old age that teaches you not to trust governemts to be interested in helping you you… Read more »
Member

If Orban were not a crazy tyrant, he would invest in education and not in entertainment like soccer.

Only good education can lift a country without resources from poverty.

But he has taken out as much as 40% from higher education in 2011-2012.

His vision of the Hungarians is exactly the same as Hitler’s vision was of the conquered Slavic people:

they should learn only as much as to be able to execute the orders of their superiors.

In Hitler’s thinking the superiors were to be the Germans, in Orban’s thinking it is the Fidesz party leadership.

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

governement education has never the results of private education with that I meanwhat your mother told you , beside mdern times give you a much greater view of life than the iron curtain did to hungarians for do many years open windows will give new nations a chance to grow healthly with new nations I mean future generations

petofi
Guest

Has Bernadette taken over this blog?

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

yes my name is bernard your reading and spelling my name is to say the least horrible

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

i am sure your name is not pedofil badly spelled

Guest

@Bernard de Raadt. I believe that you are able to write a structured language. Why do you take the trouble of imitating internal monologoue?

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

sorry do not get the internal monologue what do you mean please explain thanks

enufff
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :

Bernard De Raadt :
yes my name is bernard your reading and spelling my name is to say the least horrible

If I were you I wouldn’t say a thing about spelling.

I normally don’t want to response to trolls, but s/he is taking over the comment section with nonsense.

S/He has the nerve to tell people off. Please look into the mirror before trying to be so snooty!

By the way, what’s wrong with learning Russian or Chinese?
I speak Mandarin (doesn’t mean I’m a commie) as well as 3 other languages and proud of it.

Guest

London Calling!

Oh Dear!

I think Bernadette needs some moustache wax – and a dictionary! Ja! Ja! Ja! Ja!

Regards

Charlie

Bernard De Raadt
Guest

yes please send bernardet who ever that is one from the harods arab shop in your town and I I am bernard so do it in my name to thanks charlie for your truble tell bernardet who ever she is I still have been unable to read her coments what happens I only get mine and some undisclosed misterious chaps who hide their true name why I dont see what they are ashamed of well you never know

petofi
Guest

Personally, I’m ashamed of being Hungarian. And I will soon have to appropriate my friend, Madeleine’s advice: “I never admit to being Hungarian: I say I’m Bri-tish”…in her full accent.

Jano
Guest

Petőfi: I’m sorry but that’s so…not wise. I’m never gonna be ashamed of my heritage just because some aholes are hijacking it. I never understand why we let the right and the hard right take over our symbols and traditions. I am Hungarian and I love my country regardless of what sorry state it is in and anybody who would judge me on that or think that I should be judged is just as primitive and I have nothing to discuss with them.

Bernie: Have you ever heard about the term punctuation? I gave up reading your comments because frankly, sitting on a hedgehog just seemed a lot less painful. And what’s up with the ja ja? Is it just massive trolling or are you actually a middle aged obese Bavarian accordion player in a beerhouse? (and I hereby apologize to every middle aged obese Bavarian accordion players in beerhouses)

petofi
Guest
Jano : Petőfi: I’m sorry but that’s so…not wise. I’m never gonna be ashamed of my heritage just because some aholes are hijacking it. I never understand why we let the right and the hard right take over our symbols and traditions. I am Hungarian and I love my country regardless of what sorry state it is in and anybody who would judge me on that or think that I should be judged is just as primitive and I have nothing to discuss with them. Bernie: Have you ever heard about the term punctuation? I gave up reading your comments because frankly, sitting on a hedgehog just seemed a lot less painful. And what’s up with the ja ja? Is it just massive trolling or are you actually a middle aged obese Bavarian accordion player in a beerhouse? (and I hereby apologize to every middle aged obese Bavarian accordion players in beerhouses) Jano, sometimes I mean what I say; sometimes I say what I don’t mean; and the pregnant pause–the silence–may yet carry most meaning. I am, however, royally pissed to find a mindset that’s locked in and totally manipulatable here in the heartland of the world. I’m shocked: I… Read more »
Jano
Guest
Petőfi: I understand your frustration, I’ve been myself torn about should I stay in the US or go home. I believe that all the dark things shouldn’t prevent us from seeing the beauty too. Maybe we move in different circles, but there are lots of young, talented and educated people over there who I have the luck to call my friends and none of them are how you describe Hungarians. The millieu has it’s effect but I still firmly believe that the majority of the people are life-loving warm hearted folks and the miserably approval rate of politics in general shows that they don’t like this skizophrenia any more than we do. I think the main difference with Western countries is that nothing has ever been achieved by civil movements in Hungary and therefore the basic perception is that protesting is useless. This was further strengthened by each and every government in office. I’m sure you remember, the MSZP slogan politics belongs within the walls of the parliament or the infamous “Let them demonstrate, they’ll eventually get bored and will go home”. Of course Fidesz on government is not as fond of demonstrations as they used to be from opposition… Read more »
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