A politician who loves football
Fellut is a tiny village near Budapest, where about two thousand people live. The tranquility of a sleepy Hungarian corner with one main street and several shops is broken only by the “Pancho Arena” – an architectural masterpiece, opened in 2014 with a capacity of 3.8 thousand spectators. The cozy stadium is more like a cathedral: wooden vaults and copper towers give the building an appropriate flavor. Only parking adds a modern appearance to the arena: you can often see the cars of Hungary’s richest people on it.
“Pancho Arena” – a project of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the construction of which took 17 million dollars. The 54-year-old politician has been driving the country since 2010, supports Putin and is simply obsessed with football. Orban fell ill with this game before birth. His father was a fan of football and dragged along with his family, even for open training. Once the ball flew into the belly of a pregnant wife, which provoked contractions. The woman was immediately taken to the hospital – so was born Victor Orban.
A part of Orban’s childhood passed in Felchut – all this time he was chasing the ball on a semi-professional level. In the village, the Hungarian even now often spends weekends and comes to matches: the dacha politician is a few dozen steps from the stadium. “Look at my stadium and you will see that football is an art,” Orban says. Only his wife does not think so: the stadium spoils her view from the kitchen.
Orban first became the prime minister of Hungary in 1998, but his favorite hobby was not cold. The politician still played for the rural team from the fourth league and participated in matches every week. “Can you imagine the noise in small villages?” Nobody could have imagined such a thing until I scored, ”Orban wonders.
To solve state affairs and not to miss club training because of them, he even moved weekly government meetings from Tuesday to Friday. Orban finds similarities between work and hobbies: “It is easier to manage the government than to play two halves nicely, but with unknown time frames and in the role of goalkeeper, attacker and defender at once.”
Even his appointment as prime minister was closely intertwined with football. The day of announcement of the election results fell on the matches of the main and backup teams of Videoton – the club with which Orban is in love. The politician really wanted to see both games, so the procedure was carried out exactly during the break between them.
When Hungary joined NATO in 1999, US President Bill Clinton called Orban. “At that moment I was in training. I was told: “Bill Clinton is calling.” I replied: “Do not joke. I have a workout, call back in five minutes, ”recalls Orban. – I stood on the field like a pig. It turns out that Clinton called me about the war with Yugoslavia, he had suggestions for discussion. ”
In 2010, before the elections, political leaders did not release Orban to the Champions League final, regarding football as an unnecessary thing for Hungary. He himself recalls this in the following way: “They told me:“ The development of football in Hungary is an unpopular thing. It’s impossible. You can’t raise it because Hungarian football is crap. ”
Orban himself does not think so: “Football is an intellectual and artistic activity. He is closer to culture than economics. We have made a good step in the revival of Hungarian football. But no one agrees with me. Everyone says that this is complete nonsense. But the situation has improved. So we are developing? ”.