MOB Dismisses Győr Mayor Zsolt Borkai but Keeps Annuity (For Now)
Ábrahám Vass 2019.10.25.
In the most recent development of the case, the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB) dismissed re-elected Győr mayor Zsolt Borkai, whose sex-scandal along with corruption allegations made headlines ahead of the municipal elections. In addition, debates have been kick-started about the withdrawal of his Olympic life allowance.
Borkai, as an Olympic champion, has long been a member of MOB, serving as the organisation’s president between 2010 and 2017. However, at MOB’s May Assembly in 2017, he was voted down under circumstances that led many to think was due to hisfall from grace in the eyes of Orbán and Fidesz leaders. This, however, hasn’t been proven.
Delegated by the Hungarian Gymnastics Federation (MATSZ), has retained his membership there up until now. On Tuesday, however, MATSZ revoked his MOB membership. While the Olympic Committee acknowledged the decision, it added that from now on, “no further disciplinary or ethical action shall take place in this matter, and the case should be deemed closed” on their part.
This comes on the heels of water polo Olympic champion and Jobbik MP Ádám Steinmetz’s plea to Viktor Orbán. In the Parliament, he asked the Prime Minister to revoke Borkai’s Olympic life allowance, who, in his response, advised Steinmetz to turn to the MOB. The organisation then tossed back the case, arguing that it is the State Secretary in charge of sports affairs who is to decide on the matter.
In reponse to Index, Secretary of State for Sports in the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) Tünde Szabó, referred to the text of the Sports Act that defines unworthiness to the annuity: it can be revoked in case the receiver either has a criminal record, is on probation, or is a subject of prosecution. As of now, since no prosecution is underway against Borkai, the suspension or withdrawal of his annuity would require an amendment of the law.
In Hungary, those who have won Olympic medals and are above 35 years of age are entitled to a monthly sum in ratio to the average wage. In 2019, this meant a gross 324,300 HUF (Eur 1,036) per month for Borkai.
This, however, doesn’t mean the case ends here. Both Párbeszéd and Jobbik announced to initiate an amendment to the bill so that a MOB ethical committee could decide on similar cases in the future. In connection with this, Orbán asked Steinmetz to turn first to MOB whose proposal “they would likely support.” MOB promised to send its official opinion on this potential amendment soon.
featured image: illustration; via MTI/Csaba Krizsán