Hungarian football federation bans ‘Greater Hungary’ flags and scarves

A scarf worn by Viktor Orbán featuring the map of Greater Hungary led to a short-lived spat between Hungary and its neighboring countries

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Magyar Jelen
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán greets left-winger Balázs Dzsudzsák at his last match for Hungary. (Facebook)

The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) has announced a ban on the display of scarfs featuring the map of Greater Hungary, Hungarian news outlet Magyar Jelen reports.

Last November, five of Hungary’s neighboring countries condemned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for wearing the scarf, claiming it represents a revisionist stance, but Orbán said at the time there was no reason to read anything further into it.

The Greater Hungary map depicts Hungary before it was partitioned after World War I, which resulted in Hungary losing two-thirds of its territory and a huge share of its population to a number of neighboring countries.

The ensuing short diplomatic spat was quickly resolved at a meeting of the Visegrád Four in Slovakia.

Magyar Jelen, citing reports that MLSZ was banning the scarfs from international matches, asked the federation for the reason behind the decision. MLSZ said in response that the issue goes back to last March when the organizers of a Northern Ireland-Hungary match tried to take the scarfs from the Hungarian fans. It added that both UEFA and FIFA consider these scarfs to display a provocative, political message.

“UEFA and FIFA inspectors may interpret these symbols as carrying a political message with provocative intent,” MLSZ wrote in a statement. “The display of political messages is prohibited under UEFA and FIFA rules and therefore MLSZ may be sanctioned in such cases under the applicable regulations.”

“In such cases, MLSZ would be forced to pass on to the supporter the penalty imposed for displaying an unauthorized banner.

“In order to prevent this, the association will continue to refuse to allow the display of such flags until UEFA’s disciplinary practice in this regard changes and asks everyone to refrain from displaying such flags and banners at national team matches, thus helping the national team to play its matches in front of a full house,” the statement concluded.

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