UEFA decides to allow flags with Greater Hungary map and Árpád stripes at Hungarian team's matches
March 22. 2023. – 09:03 AM
UEFA and FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), which fights against discrimination in football, have accepted the argument of the Hungarian Football Association, according to which
the display of the symbol of Greater Hungary and the Árpád-striped flag in stadiums does not in itself constitute racist behaviour.
With reference to the resolution, the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) issued a statement on Tuesday, announcing that in the future it would allow „the presence of drapery symbolising respect for historic Hungary and solidarity with fans from beyond Hungary's borders” in stadiums, but only under the following conditions:
- the banners may only depict a map of historic Hungary, no other symbols or inscriptions are permitted;
- it may only use red, white and green colours;
- the banner is to be presented at the entrance in the usual manner to check its content and flammability;
- the banner must not restrict fans in the stadium from watching the match without disturbance.
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However, MLSZ would like to point out that if any racist or political message is later displayed on the drapery authorised as described above, or if any racist or political message is attached to the drapery, this will result in disciplinary action.
MLSZ had previously decided that the symbol of Greater Hungary is not allowed on flags flown at the national team's matches, but can still be worn on scarves in stadiums. The federation referred to the FARE publication adopted by UEFA in 2016, which is still in force, which said of the Greater Hungary symbol: „It is a revisionist concept that seeks to restore the borders of the Kingdom of Hungary to their pre-First World War borders, and is currently used by a minority of far-right groups within stadiums.”
In the meantime, however, MLSZ submitted a request to UEFA and FARE in February, trying to get them to accept the view that the Greater Hungary symbol doesn't carry a political message and that the Árpád-striped flag no longer embodies fascism or racism (before and during the Second World War, the flag was among the symbols used by Hungarian nationalists and the fascist Arrow Cross party). MLSZ argues that the fact that it is displayed in the Parliament among the historical flags of Hungary is proof of this.
In November, it provoked a mini-diplomatic uproar when Prime Minister Viktor Orbán posed for a photo with a Greater Hungary scarf around his neck following the Hungarian national team's match against Greece. The Slovak foreign minister called the gesture disgusting, and the Hungarian ambassador in Kyiv was summoned. Orbán responded to the reactions by saying that football is not politics, adding that „The Hungarian team represents all Hungarians, wherever they may live”. Incidentally, the now-symbolic borders of pre-Trianon Hungary never coincided with the borders of the Hungarian ethnicity.
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