As the curtain falls on the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, hosts Hungary can reflect on a busy but successful year, says tournament director András Igaz.
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Tournament director András Igaz is reflecting on a job well done after the UEFA European Under-19 Championship came to an end – the high point of a successful but hectic summer.
"Of course we've very pleased with how it's gone," Igaz told UEFA.com. "It's been a fantastic tournament for us, not just in terms of the games – and we've had some great games – but also on an organisational level. It's been full of challenges but it's all gone well. I'm sorry it's finished, we'll all miss it, and hopefully we'll be able to organise another event soon."
The finals may have taken up the last two weeks yet for Igaz – tournament director at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in 2005 and UEFA Futsal EURO five years later – the process has been a lot longer than that. "It's been a very busy year for us all. It's a very big event and we're proud to have organised it. I'm still head of the event management department in the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) and I've been doing this along with my normal job – but I've had support from the federation and UEFA."
With ten staff in Gyor and more than 15 in the tournament headquarters in Budapest, it has been a sizeable operation and a "big challenge" for Igaz's team – although he had had some valuable help. "Working with UEFA has been perfect," he said. "We've all learned a lot here, there's some fantastic information for us all and we hope to be able to implement that into our own approach in the future."
Although the tournament has been a success for Hungary off the pitch, on it the hosts had "a couple of bad results, although we did manage to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, which was very important", Igaz reflected ruefully – although crowd numbers have still been positive. "We were aiming to get around 30,000 spectators to the stadiums, and we've more or less managed that, even though we were competing with the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the European Water Polo Championship – both big events in Budapest at the same time," Igaz added.
"I think people who did go to the games enjoyed them and were pleased with the organisation, so that satisfies both sides. Germany and Portugal was a fantastic final and a great promotion for the tournament too. It's been a fantastic event and it's been great to be a part of it."