Soccer mania

Yet another expensive stadium to be finished for more than twice the estimated price in Budapest

The Bozsik Stadium in Budapest was originally planned to be built from EUR 14.1 million (HUF 5 billion), but the only contractor found would do it for more than twice this amount (EUR 33 million, HUF 11.7 billion). As usual in Hungary, companies close to the government benefited from the stadium construction, and a recent government decree would further increase the costs of this superfluous construction project.

With Viktor Orbán’s well known football obsession the government has spent hundreds of billions of forints on building new stadiums all over Hungary and in the neighboring countries too over the last few years. The Bozsik Stadium is the home of Honvéd FC, one of the last soccer clubs in Budapest to get a brand new stadium after others.

The construction of the UEFA category 4 stadium is in full swing, the investment has recently reached a spectacular phase: the cover plates have been placed on the building. However, according to a government decision, the price of the new complex may rise further to EUR 48 million (HUF 17 billion). It comes as no surprise that the governing Fidesz party’s supporters benefit from this construction.

The only contractor found works for double the estimated price

Earlier it was decided that a new, multifunctional facility could be built on the site of the Bozsik Stadium within the framework of the National Stadium Development Program. “I think it will be completed by the end of 2015, but we will only know the exact date when the public procurement is completed” – said George F. Hemingway, former owner of the club in 2014.

The public procurement for the stadium was first announced at the end of 2016, and then the deadlines were changed five times in eight months. However, in mid-September 2017, the procedure was declared unsuccessful because there was no contractor found for EUR 14.1 million (HUF 5 billion). Only a year later, the tender for the construction of the stadium was closed at more than double the original price. The EUR 33 million (HUF 11.7 billion) deal was won by a joint venture of Pharos 95 Kft and West Hungaria Bau Kft.

According to a government decision, EUR 26.4 million (HUF 9.35 billion) from the 2019 central budget will be provided for the reconstruction of the stadium, and an additional EUR 11.9 million (4.2 billion forints) will be made available for this project in 2020. The government decision also stipulates that in 2019 a maximum of EUR 36.1 million (HUF 12.8 billion) and in 2020 a maximum of EUR 11.9 million (HUF 4.2 billion) of public money can be spent on the stadium, that is a total of EUR 48 million (HUF 17 billion).

Earlier, George F. Hemingway promised that the technical handover of the new stadium will take place on June 12, 2020. According to the technical description, the new Bozsik Stadium will be classified as a UEFA category 4 stadium. This is the highest rating, so serious requirements must be met, such as a minimum of 8,000 seats and 500 VIP seats. In the 2016-2017 season there were 47,122 spectators altogether in the Bozsik Stadium, which is an average of 2,772 people. This stadium size is a huge exaggeration for the team.

Photo credit: Szilvia Zsilák / Atlatszo

The construction is managed by Pharos ’95 Kft, a company owned by Gábor Végh, a businessman and close friend of the richest Hungarian, Lőrinc Mészáros, the former mayor of Felcsút and a childhood friend of prime minister Viktor Orbán. The other contractor of the Bozsik Stadium is a company owned by Attila Paár, a businessman who owns companies together with the Prime Minister’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz.

Written by Szilvia Zsilák. The more detailed Hungarian version of this article is available here.