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UEFA U-turn Allows Great Hungary Symbol at Football Matches

Hungary Today 2023.03.22.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has approved the request of the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) not to treat the “historical Hungary symbol,” i.e. flags depicting Great Hungary, as a politically motivated symbol, so it can appear in the matches of the Hungarian national team, reports Nemzeti Sport.

As reported earlier by Hungary Today, in January, UEFA declared the depiction of Great Hungary, a symbol of national unity, as a political message and said it has no place at football events, including Hungarian national team matches. According to the decision, it became forbidden to bring anything depicting Great Hungary, such as banners, to matches organized by UEFA, as this could be considered provocative.

Back then, president of the Hungarian Football Association, Sándor Csányi, said that they did not think that the Great Hungary symbol carried a political message. Csányi also noted that although FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), UEFA’s anti-discrimination group, denies that it would punish the Great Hungary map, its objection to it has been raised three times recently before UEFA’s disciplinary committee. On each occasion the symbol was labeled revisionist and nationalist.

A map showing the size of Hungary before the Trianon peace treaty in 1920, after which the country lost two-thirds of its territory. This depiction is called the Great Hungary map. Photo: Hungary Today

However, recent developments show that the symbol of Great Hungary has been accepted by UEFA. According to the newly released statement of the Hungarian Football Association, they have “requested a clear position from UEFA and FARE on the issue of allowing the display of the historic symbol. The two organizations, accepting the arguments of MLSZ, acknowledged that the historical map of Hungary and the colors of the Árpád strip do not constitute racist behavior, but that this does not apply to other symbols and inscriptions on the drapery and to fan slogans. On this basis, the federation will allow the draperies to be displayed at the next two matches.”

Draperies with a potentially racist message will continue to be punished by UEFA, but it is a significant step forward that a banner containing only a map of historic Hungary and the Hungarian national colors will not in itself constitute a disciplinary offense.

However, there are several requirements to be met if one wishes to bring such a banner to football matches. Among the conditions are that the banner must depict only a map of historic Hungary, with no other symbols or inscriptions; it must be in the colors of red, white or green; it must be displayed in the usual way to check its contents and to check its condition against burning; and it must not restrict fans in the stadium from watching the match without disturbance.

The map of Great Hungary has been objected to by many because it depicts the country’s territory before the Trianon peace treaty of 1920, when most parts of the country had not yet been annexed. After the treaty, Hungary’s borders were changed, and some say that the depiction suggests revisionist views, i.e. the belief that Hungary wants to reclaim its former territories, which is explicitly forbidden in today’s world. However, for Hungarians, the map of Great Hungary symbolizes togetherness and support among all Hungarians, even those who live beyond the borders.

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Featured photo via Facebook

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