The MLSZ Strikes Back

(Queue Darth Vader music). The MLSZ has spoken again. And once again to the detriment of Hungarian football. Fortunately, the MLSZ announcement has not disrupted the organisation of the piss-up that I asked them to organise for me. Apparently, they have found a good place in Riyadh.

Caption competition could be a good one – Csanyi (left) seems smug.

Photo: Móricz-Sabján Simon

So five NB1 teams have been stripped of their licences to compete in the top league next season. The offenders/victims are Gyor, Kecskemet, Nyiregyhaza, Papa and Pecs. Poor Gyor were already gone following the bankruptcy of brokerage firm Quasetor (a company from which the government divested of all their investments on the back of inside information thereby screwing any Hungarian private investors of their hard-earned, but ill-invested savings). The rest have been dumped out of the top division on fairly spurious financial reasons.For example, Nyiregyhaza have been punished for financial irregularities connected to the signing of Brazilian Diego Balbinot in 2010. Yep, 2010. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to raise this issue prior to the club’s promotion this time last year. OR indeed in 2010.

The stripping of NB1 licences from these teams has led to the announcement that the 2016/17 NB1 season will only consist of 12 top flight clubs. Ominously, the identity of those teams is dependent on which clubs will receive licences in a year. In other words, tow the line or you are out.

Other important announcements include the scrapping of the League Cup (not a huge surprise as it was a reserve team tournament until the final stage and without European entry), permitting reserve teams to compete Spanish style in the lower leagues, a restriction of the number of foreigners permitted in each team (with increased allowances for teams in Europe i.e. Orban’s Vidi and the “people’s” Ferencvaros and best of all a new and exclusive TV channel for broadcasting the games.

I could pick apart each of these announcements and maybe I will a little.

  • Interesting how Fradi’s recruitment policy in the last 12 months has focussed almost exclusively on Hungarians whereas previously Hungarian signings (for the “people’s” club) were about as welcome as syphilis for a 19th century literary figure – seems like Kubatov (Ferencvaros chairman and close friend of Orban (and the convicted murderer who heads up security at Ulloi Uti Stadion)) has been given the heads up.

DSC_0632You broke my heart; I love to hate you (boom Erasure) 

Photo: Toth Gyongyi

  • Not sure how this rule will be compliant with EU law, although at least MTK will be ok until the squad is cherry-picked for the promising youngsters.
  • As for the exclusive TV channel…fucking wow (I typed that slowly and deliberately if you can go back and read that with sound effects). Sport 1 already served that purpose with the occasional handball match from Szeged. I can only imagine that Hungarians will suddenly be inspired to tune in.

The whole thing is a mess. Hungarian football seems to find itself deeper in a barrel of Fidesz produced shit. It comes out of their mouths as well as their arses.  Hungarians deserve better…

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4 thoughts on “The MLSZ Strikes Back

  1. Well there are probably two possible answers (depending on how cynical you are):

    1) The move is just a sign of the systemic statist nature of the Orban government. With the stadium building project meaning that significant government funds are being thrown around, the relegation of these four clubs (let’s exclude Gyor because they are victims of wider circumstances) is because they are not sufficiently pro-Government.

    2) Alternatively, anyone who has watched Lombard Papa play would probably agree that a 16 team league may not be the best setup for the Hungarian league and a concentration of talent may not be the worst of ideas. That said, Hungarian league football is better than it has been for a few years with both Vidi and Fradi having genuinely good sides (and the likes of MTK, Debrecen, Diosgyor and Paks not a million miles away). Either way this is a particularly clumsy way of achieving the goal: so clumsy that it inevitably brings you back to the first answer.

    When this latest ‘development’ is wrapped up with the Fan Card debacle and the general contempt that the Hungarian public has towards the stadium building program, it is too easy to jump to the conclusion that the MLSZ are not running the game in the best interests of the fans, teams and wider Hungarian public, but for the financial gain of Kubatov (Fradi chairman), Deutsch (MTK chairman) and other hangers-on such as Mészáros (major of Orban’s hometown and sudden construction firm magnate).

    That was my best attempt at being objective 😉

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  2. I appreciate your objective point of view and now understand a little more. I had posted on Facebook that I think the Central European countries of Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia should start a new league. Here in North America, we have Canada and the US sharing a league in MLS. As you may know, we have the NHL in both Canada and US, as well as NBA and MLB. Why can’t these countries do the same? There would be more money between some of the bigger clubs. The TV revenue would probably be better. Advertisers would have larger markets to advertise. NB1 and the Austrian Bundesliga can’t compete on their own against the German Bundesliga or EPL.

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  3. I don’t doubt that such a development would improve the quality of football week-in, week-out in the region. There are just too many obstacles standing in the way; interest of national Football Associations, the fate of the resultant domestic leagues, policing, interaction with wider European football, composition of any such league (at present the Hungarian teams would be immediately relegated!), history etc..

    Something called the Atlantic League was mooted in 2001 or 2001 comprising the best Belgian, Dutch, Portuguese and Scottish teams. As I recall, UEFA stated that any clubs participating would be prohibited from entering UEFA competitions. The clubs would have been collecting a penny and spending a pound.

    The days of unheralded Eastern European sides vying for real honours with the big boys of European football á la Steaua in 1986 and Crvena Zvezda in 1991 are long past. Unfortunately.

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