FIFA Forward

Hungarian football investing in its future

Hungarian football investing in its future
  • Hungarian Football Association plans construction of up to 40 new artificial pitches
  • New defibrillators to help save lives
  • Projects "extremely important for Hungarian football family and society as a whole"

A lot of football's beauty is its simplicity: Two goals – made of anything from empty bottles to school bags – and a ball is all you need. But few would argue against the fact that better facilities will breed better results in the long run.

The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ), are pursuing just that having opted to install a new series of pitches up and down the country to improve the nation's training infrastructure. These new 40m x 20m pitches will primarily benefit youth sports teams and schools, with the schools using the pitches in the mornings before the clubs, including those from neighbouring towns, take over the facilities in the afternoons and evenings.

It is hoped that these pitches will:

  • Introduce as many children to football as possible
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle
  • Encourage social cohesion and reduce crime
  • Reinforce people’s pride in their local area

"Developing infrastructure and building pitches for youth and grassroots football are key pillars of our strategy," said MLSZ General Secretary Marton Vagi. "Although the sites have not yet been finalised, the MLSZ would like the facilities to benefit the country’s disadvantaged regions." It was a project FIFA was keen to provide financial support for as part of the FIFA Forward Programme.

Pitch facts

  • Up to 40 new pitches being created
  • Twenty of these pitches were constructed in 2017
  • Designed for use by schools and clubs
  • Total cost: USD 4 million
  • FIFA Forward contribution: USD 800,000

Who knows, the next Ferenc Puskas or Sandor Kocsis could be discovered by the two-time FIFA World Cup™ runners-up on one of these pitches.

Officials in Hungary are also keen to improve the sport’s medical provisions, deciding to purchase new defibrillators to be distributed nationwide. "Sudden deaths in football affect not only professional footballers but also referees and amateur players," explained the MLSZ’s Head of Administration Janos Zelei. "When these incidents occur, the patient has a chance of making a full recovery if they are promptly and professionally resuscitated. ‘Time = life’ is certainly true in this case, as the chance of successful defibrillation decreases by seven to ten per cent every minute.

Defibrillator facts

  • Purchase of 1,000 new defibrillators
  • Defibrillators to be distributed across Hungary
  • Total cost: USD 2 million
  • FIFA Forward contribution: USD 400,000

"While CPR keeps the player alive, it is defibrillation that shocks the heart back into its normal rhythm," said Professor Efraim B. Kramer, Tournament Medical Officer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. "That’s why purchasing defibrillators will save lives. This project by the Hungarian Football Federation is a great example for others to follow."

"Unfortunately we have witnessed some tragic events on the pitch that we will never forget, so prevention using defibrillators is crucial," added Vagi. "These projects are extremely important for the Hungarian football family and society as a whole."

“Through such development projects as the ones being implemented by the Hungarian Football Federation, we are convinced that the FIFA Forward programme will have a lasting global impact," concluded FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer Joyce Cook. "This project which was supported jointly by our colleagues from the FIFA Medical Division, should also help to save lives on the ground. Such investments in football development undoubtedly represent another step towards safer and more sustainable football facilities, and we hope they will further inspire many other Football Federations worldwide."

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