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Football Association bans Greater Hungary banners

January 27th, 2023

A pro-government commentator is outraged by the decision and calls it an expression of sheer cowardice.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Pilhál maintains that the map of pre-First-World-War Greater Hungary simply expresses historical consciousness and solidarity with ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries. He dismisses the argument that UEFA, the European Football Federation may interpret such banners as a political provocation and condemn Hungary to play home matches ‘behind closed doors’. Such banners, Pilhál writes, have been regularly seen in football stadiums in the past without triggering punishments. Meanwhile, he suggests, Hungary has been unjustly sanctioned by UEFA in the past, (see e.g. Budapost, July 13, 2021), therefore ‘they can punish us whenever they want to.’ Pilhál also recalls the uproar last November, when Prime Minister Orbán wore a scarf featuring the map of Greater Hungary when he attended a Hungary-Greece match in Budapest, but praises the sense of humour of Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger who, in response, gave him a Slovak fan’s scarf at a subsequent Visegrad-4 summit. (The Hungarian Football Association has only banned banners and flags with the map of Greater Hungary from international games, not scarves.)

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