"Even if you hate football, you have to go to these matches"
January 11, 2018 1:57 AM   Subscribe

For Hungarian oligarchs and foreign journalists alike, the best chance of an audience with Orbán is a visit to the Pancho Arena, which is why the car park outside the ground fills up with expensive vehicles whose owners are seeking proximity to power. “Even if you hate football, you have to go to these matches,” said Gyula Mucsi of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. “It is the only place that the elite are willing to socialise with anyone outside of their small circle. Big construction and infrastructure development projects and plans which require a lot of money are basically decided in the skybox.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, a couple of hours before kickoff, Orbán’s parking space was still vacant. But perhaps we would see him walking into the ground. After all, it is only 20 metres from his house.
posted by kmt (1 comment total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for posting this! It's a fascinating glimpse into a former empire trying to recapture it's glory days. I do wish the authors had highlighted just how much Hungary's soul was destroyed during and after the 1956 occupation by USSR, because I think that context is lost on most western audiences.

I wonder how much the average Hungarian feels about the glory days of football. And if Orban's extremism reflects the collective loss experienced by Hungary over the past 100 years.

It will also be interesting to see if Orban's goals for football will successfully spread to Romania/Serbia/etc.
posted by A hidden well at 7:29 AM on January 11

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