A Hungarian opposition politician is making claims that a secret tunnel was built for Prime Minister Viktor Orban so he could watch football games in Budapest’s largest stadium, but the stadium has already released a statement debunking the claims.
János Stummer, opposition politician of the Hungarian far-right Jobbik party, triggered a political debate with a Facebook post claiming that the government was planning to build a “secret tunnel” to access the capital of Budapest’s largest stadium, the Puskás Arena, for Orbán.
In a Feb. 23 post, Stummer, head of the Hungarian Parliament’s national security committee wrote that “they want to build a secret underground tunnel to the Puskás Stadium for the exclusive use of Orbán, but I will not let it slide and will make it public.”
In its response, also published on Facebook only a few hours later, the management of the stadium clarified that the plan was neither secret, nor for the exclusive use of Orbán, and wasn’t in fact a proper tunnel at all.
The stadium management’s post said the facts are that six months ago the national security committee gave conditional approval for the construction of a car underpass to the arena for domestic and foreign VIPs in order to ensure security roadblocks would not interfere with regular traffic.
“The planned solution is a car underpass only 50 meters long. In order for the short underpass to be constructed in a nationally safe manner without risk, and in order to ensure the safety of the public and the protected persons, no information such as special escape possibilities, the position of space observers, etc. could fall into unauthorized hands. The National Security Committee of the National Assembly approved that the design and construction works be submitted in the framework of a nationally qualified, invitational, multi-player competition,” the stadium management’s post said.
For many older Hungarians, the Jobbik politician’s post was reminiscent of rumors in the early 1950s that then communist leader Mátyás Rákosi built a dedicated underground line from parliament to a nuclear bunker for himself and his inner circle. While such a bunker adjacent to a downtown metro station was indeed planned but never fully completed, it did not have a “secret” line connecting it to parliament. It was eventually completed as a bomb shelter for 2,200 people but never used and — lacking any use — is quietly decaying under Budapest’s Deák square.
Title image: Hungary’s largest stadium, the Budapest Puskás Arena.