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US Ambassador Opens Hungary’s First Standard-Sized American Football Field

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2016.05.02.

Hungary’s first standard-sized American football field has opened in Székesfehérvár, west of Budapest, with a ceremony attended by US Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell.

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The field that measures 120 yards (110 m) in length will be home to the Fehérvár Enthroners team. Ms. Bell, wearing a Chicago Bears shirt, said in her inauguration speech that Hungary gave several iconic figures to the sport, including Joe Namath, a star of the 1960s and 1970s, Pete and Charlie Gogolak, who raised the sport to a new dimension, and George Stanley Halas, founder of the Chicago Bears.  Some weeks ago, we wrote about Don Shula, Miami Dolphins’ Super Bowl-winning American football coach, who is also of Hungarian descent.

The MAFL League, the official championship of Hungary’s American football team, was formed in 2005 and currently has 22 participating teams in three divisions.

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American football does not look back upon a long history in Hungary. In 1992, enthusiastic young people started to play the game in a few groups.  These groups joined each other through the years, and became one team, the Budapest Cowboys.  Being the only Hungarian team, they could only play matches against foreign teams. By 2008, the Hungarian league kicked off with 18 teams and the number of signed players increased to 1,250 while in 2009 there were three divisions with 26 teams and more than 2,000 players.

In 2010 a new top league was launched, called Hungarian Football League (HFL) where top hungarian teams play each other for the Hungarian Bowl title. This year, the eleventh Hungarian Bowl will be held.

via hungarymatters.hu and ifaf.org
photos: szekesfehervar.hu