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Prime minister Orbán’s football academy is the most equal Hungarian NGO

The Ferenc Puskás Football Academy (Puskás Ferenc Labdarúgó Akadémia, PLA), named after Hungary’s legendary soccer player is located in the prime minister’s native village Felcsút. PLA will soon be Europe’s greatest youth soccer development center, according to Lőrinc Mészáros, the president of the academy and mayor of Felcsút. His dreams often come true as in the past years the PLA’s income and properties have been growing constantly, while other Hungarian football academies have to make do with much more modest funding.

However, the foundation behind the academy barely has any funding from taxpayers, in the (usual Hungarian) form of 1% of their taxes. In 2011, the academy was only chosen by 53 private persons as the recipient of these tax forints, earning 320,000 forints. Last year, this income was even less. 53 people are not very many for an academy teaching 530 children, or for one that will soon have a stadium capable of seating 3500 people (in a village of 1800 residents).

The most equal NGO

Society’s support of an NGO is measured by 3 indicators in the relative Hungarian law: the first indicator is the private tax offering in the past two fiscal years which should be more than 2% of the total income (this wasn’t fulfilled by PLA, by a wide margin it was 0,007%); the second indicator is the number of people working as volunteers (there were no volunteers at PLA, but it has 110 employees); and the third indicator is the proportion of total expenditures and public ones, in this case the academy fulfilled its duties.

The lack of social interest is more than made up for by other sources. The Foundation for Felcsút Youth Football Development (A Felcsúti Utánpótlás Neveléséért Alapítvány) is mostly funded by the state, eg. by more than 2 billion Hungarian forints (ca. 6,7 million euro) last year via preferential treatment of company income taxes. The 850 million Hungarian forints that were from other sources (as the law requires a contribution for an NGO to be eligible to benefit from the company income taxes) came from companies such as MOL (partly state-owned energy company), Közgép, OTP Bank and CBA (all companies from the governing Fidesz party’s circle).

It’s hard to say how much or little this sum of 3 billion is, experts say the academy may be considered moderately rich by European standards. We can, however, compare it to the other Hungarian football academies.

Runners-up

There are dozens of associations working in youth football development, but the elite consists of five big academies. As the services provided are not the same, comparisons can only be rather rough and generic, with information gained only from the “input” side of things.

Alongside ETO in Győr works the Foundation for the ETO’s Future – they educate 342 young talents, of whom 80 are accommodated in a dormitory, from around 500 million forints, which is 1.7 million per child.

Illés Academy of Szombathely has received in 2011 (the newest available data) 477 million, spending 365 million on the 180 kids in the age groups U12-U18 and on around a hundred kids between 5 and 12 years of age. This adds up to somewhere between 1.7 and 2.6 million per capita.

MTK’s Károly Sándor Academy had 184 million forints at its disposal last year, 84 million from the national budget and 96 million donated by companies and private persons; however, their expenditure was 229 million forints, and they ran a 44 million deficit. Working with 71 youth, they have spent 3.22 million on each.

Honvéd’s Hungarian Football Academy helps 102 children’s sport activities and education. They had 201 million last year, which means around 2 million per child. Gaining 842 thousand Hungarian forints from private persons’ tax offerings, they seem to be the most socially supported academy; the others were offered from 204 to 439 thousand forints.

At the Puskás Academy of Felcsút, there are 5.6 million forints for each child. This is, by itself, almost two times the amount spent on an individual child than at the “second place” MTK, but for the children who really work hard and play at the academy may be multiple times this amount. For example, last year only 62 children have received a scholarship from the academy.

According to news reports, an international auditing company working on behalf of the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) will audit the big youth football associations, and future financial support will be distributed based on the objective results of the audit. What is certain is that in this race for future funds, Felcsút has a huge head start, as even now it has a much larger sum at its disposal than its rivals; the audit’s objective results may cement this for a long time.

This text was originally published in Hungarian on 9 July 2013. The article was translated by atlatszo.hu volunteers.

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