It was already decided before the 33rd and last match of the OTP Bank League on Saturday that Békéscsaba could not avoid relegation from the top division. Vasas played MTK in Dunaújváros, and a win would guarantee that they stay in Division I. Puskás Akadémia FC (PAFC) hosted Budapest Honvéd, and could only avoid relegation by winning and by Vasas not taking all three points.
In an interview published on Saturday on the website of the Puskás Akadémia, Mr. Orbán, founder of the Felcsút institution, said that “Two weeks ago our fate was in our own hands, but with the defeat against Vasas, Vasas seized control. At this stage, it is all up to them”.
“Football works like this. The team which wins fewer points than its rivals is bound to be relegated. In the last four games we had the opportunity to play against our relegation rivals twice, and so fate favoured us. At the same time both our rivals defeated us, and in our situation this could be fatal. We cannot point to bad luck or our opponents as an excuse. There will be an honest, fair, manly fight among the three teams which will be candidates for relegation until the final whistle”, he explained.
Mr. Orbán said that there is nothing surprising about the fact that there was some ill feeling around the PAFC-Honvéd match and Felcsút’s possible avoidance of relegation. “After all, I established the Puskás Akadémia, and although I do not take part in the operation of the first team and the academy, ordinary people who are passionate about football associate the club with me. Therefore, political like or dislike of me is inevitably passed on to the team as well.”
The Prime Minister said that it is a natural instinct for supporter’s to side with the underdog, saying that he was also willing on Leicester City to win the English Premier League – which it has now done, after a season which surprised everyone.
“The reality is that among Hungarian football clubs we are the true underdogs. Our club is based on an academy. We have spectators rather than supporters, and likewise we have no ultras, but youngsters who attend the academy. Despite this, the wider public does not see the team associated with the Prime Minister as an underdog. And there is an understandable piquancy about the possibility that the team of the country’s prime minister may prove to fail. Of course this is a psychological burden for the team, but they need to learn to put up with it without complaint”, Mr. Orbán said.
In reference to the famous saying of Olympic champion swimmer Éva Székely that “only the winner is free to cry”, Mr. Orbán pointed out that if Puskás Akadémia had succeeded in staying in Division I on Saturday that they would only cry for joy. “The greatest virtue of sport is that, in addition to achieving an honest victory, it also teaches us to lose with our heads held high. And if this is what fortune metes out to us, we have to bear it in this spirit. With our heads held high, after a good match, awaiting the judgement which does not depend on us and which will be passed in Dunaújváros at the MTK-Vasas match”, he said.
The founder of the academy highlighted that they have to face up to the fact that the twelve-team Division I of the Hungarian football league is a great challenge for Puskás Akadémia, “a test beyond our strength”.
At the same time, he pointed out that alumni of the institution include: László Kleinheisler, who plays for German team Werder Bremen and is an important player in the Hungarian national squad preparing for the UEFA European Championship being held in France this summer; Ádám Gyurcsó, who plays in the Polish league; and Krisztián Géresi and Roland Szolnoki, who play for Videoton, runners-up in the OTP Bank League. “These are all great achievements for our academy, and send a promising sign that decades of work is beginning to bear fruit”, Mr. Orbán said.