UEFA President attends inauguration of Hungary's Puskás Aréna

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin described the Puskás Aréna in Budapest as "the jewel in Hungarian football's crown for decades to come" as he attended the venue's unveiling ceremony.

Aleksander Čeferin presented MLSZ president Sándor Csányi with a Puskás Aréna tribute plaque
Aleksander Čeferin presented MLSZ president Sándor Csányi with a Puskás Aréna tribute plaque ©MLSZ

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin was a guest of honour at the inauguration of Hungary’s 68,000-capacity Puskás Aréna – named after Ferenc Puskás, the star of the 'Mighty Magyars' team of the 1950s.

As well as attending Hungary's first ever international in the new stadium – a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay – Mr Čeferin met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during his visit to the country.

The Puskás Aréna in Budapest has a 68,000 capacity
The Puskás Aréna in Budapest has a 68,000 capacity©MLSZ

The Puskás Aréna is one of 12 venues staging next summer's pan-European UEFA EURO 2020 finals. The stadium will host three group matches and a round of 16 encounter. 

Fitting stadium name

"It is fitting," Mr Čeferin said, "that such a magnificent stadium is named after Ferenc Puskás.

"He was a player before his time, a player who had such outstanding vision and leadership qualities.

Ferenc Puskás - one of the game's all-time greats
Ferenc Puskás - one of the game's all-time greats©Getty Images

"His feats in helping Hungary to beat England in 1953 and his four goals for Real Madrid in their 7-3 victory in the [1960] European Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt have been and will continue to be etched in the memories of football fans for generations." 

Inspiration for next generation

"I am very proud that Budapest and Hungary now has one of the most beautiful and modern football stadiums on the continent," said Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) president and UEFA vice-president Sándor Csányi.

He added that the venue would "give great inspiration for the next generation of football players".

"I'd like to express my gratitude to UEFA for supporting us throughout the planning phase," Mr Csányi continued, "and for giving us relevant information and experience during recent years."

Aleksander Čeferin ahead of the kick-off at the Puskás Aréna
Aleksander Čeferin ahead of the kick-off at the Puskás Aréna©MLSZ

"I would like to pay tribute to the Hungarian Football Federation and, in particular Sándor Csányi, for overseeing the completion of what will be the jewel in Hungarian football's crown for decades to come," said Mr Čeferin. 

Hungarian FA commitment

The creation of the Puskás Aréna reflects the Hungarian FA's commitment to building new football stadiums. Last May, the UEFA Women's Champions League final was played at the rebuilt Ferencváros Stadium.

Three Hungarian venues – Sóstói Stadion (Székesfehérvár), Bozsik Stadion (Budapest) and Haladás Stadion (Szombathely) – will, provisionally, also stage matches at the 2021 European Under-21 Championship finals, which Hungary will co-host with Slovenia.

Budapest as UEFA EURO 2020 host

The UEFA President and Sándor Csányi met Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (right)
The UEFA President and Sándor Csányi met Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (right)©MLSZ

Ahead of the Puskás Aréna festivities, both Mr Čeferin and Mr Csányi were guests of Prime Minister Orbán at his Carmelite Monastery offices, where discussions focused on Budapest's role as a UEFA EURO 2020 host venue. 

Mr Čeferin also visited Parliament, where he was welcomed by National Assembly Speaker László Kövér.

By providing support through its HatTrick assistance programme, UEFA has played a key role in helping Hungary develop the ‘beautiful game’ at all levels. Recent initiatives include:

• Construction of a new headquarters for the Hungarian Football Federation and the renovation of its technical centre.

• Artificial pitches laid across the country – part of a drive to give as many youngsters as possible the opportunity to play football.

• Financing of 80 mini-pitches at kindergartens, ensuring children can play football as early as possible.

In a partnership between the MLSZ and the Hungarian School Sports Federation (HSSF), a schools football scheme set up in 2013 aims to introduce football into the national curriculum, benefitting 1.2 million children.

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