The recent UEFA European Futsal Championship in Hungary was the biggest there has been. The first to be held across a country rather than in one city with an expanded entry of 12 nations, it also boasted a record aggregate attendance. Tournament director István Huszár is delighted with how the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) met the challenge.
"We wanted to organise a great tournament here in Hungary for UEFA, therefore we proposed two state-of-the-art, modern arenas, the Papp László Budapest Sportarena in Budapest and the Főnix Arena in Debrecen to host the matches," Huszár told uefa.com. "We had several issues; the expansion to 12 teams, two venues and two centres – Debrecen and Budapest – which was logistically not so easy. But we were happy to do so, of course. We hope the participants were happy. Their reactions were positive."
Fans enjoyed the event too, especially Hungary's group games in Budapest, the second of which against the Czech Republic was a thrilling 6-5 defeat watched by a boisterous sell-out crowd of more than 7,000. However, all the matches in both cities attracted healthy attendances. "This was a national event," the tournament director said. "Before the tournament we sold all the tickets for the two Hungary matches and the final. We had excellent attendances both at the Papp László Budapest Sportarena and the Főnix Arena in Debrecen. Compared to other futsal events in Hungary the attendances were great because the sport is still in a developing phase. We thought EURO was an excellent event for the future of Hungarian futsal."
To that end, the finals were used to give an opportunity to the Hungarian futsal players of the future. "We were very pleased to see the Hungarian School Sports Federation joined this programme," Huszár said. "This is a sport for young people. They played their county finals before every match up to the semi-finals, and of course it was a great moment for the boys to play in such arenas. They will not forget futsal after this event."
Certainly the promotion of futsal in Hungary was an important aim of staging the tournament for the MLSZ. "People do not realise what a fast and dynamic game it is and people were able to see how the other nations play futsal," added Huszár, the former vice-chairman of the UEFA Futsal & Beach Soccer Committee. "During the tournament I read the reaction of fans and those in the media and saw positive comments. I hope we can keep these supporters on our side."
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