Soccer tournament highjacked by Orbán government politicians in Toronto

In the last couple of months Budapest has increased its lobby activities in North America and now not even a friendly soccer tournament is spared. This year’s Árpád Kupa in Toronto became a political propaganda show.

Poster of the event

Soccer is Hungary’s national pastime and many emigrants continue to play the game. There are Hungarian teams in several cities throughout Canada and the US. The Árpád Kupa (Arpad Cup), a long-running annual Hungarian soccer tournament, started in Las Vegas, Nevada almost twenty years ago. Canadian, US and Hungarian soccer teams attend and have a great time. Last year’s games were held in the San Francisco Bay Area and for Hungarian speakers here is a short video introducing that friendly gathering. (Watch here)

This year the tournament was packed with Hungarian government politicians! Hungary’s Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Bálint Ódor sponsored the event; new Consul General to Toronto, Mr. Valér Palkovits was also present. Ambassador György Szöllősi came from Budapest. He is a sport journalist- and Orbán confidant-turned politician now serving as the Ambassador of Hungarian Football Tradition and Affairs concerning Ferenc Puskás. (Yes, this is his official title.)

Amb. Szöllősi (far left), Amb. Ódor (far right), Consul General Palkovits (second from right) at Árpád Kupa, Toronto.

Szöllősi was also leader of the Puskás Football Academy located in Felcsút, the village where Prime Minister Orbán was raised. So not surprisingly Foreign Minister Szijjártó appointed him to the rank of full Ambassador to promote Hungarian soccer!

Another Hungarian politician attending was Mr. Attila Szinay, the Deputy State Secretary for Legal and Administrative Affairs of Agricultural Development. Ms. Csilla Papp, a Budapest-paid activist (Kőrösi Csoma Ösztöndíjas) acted as the MC at the gala event. Representatives of local churches were also present: Mr. Zoltán Vass of First Hungarian Presbyterian Church, Mr. Dániel Püsök of First Hungarian Baptist Church and Mr. Zsolt Németi of Hungarian Pentecostal Church.

This at one time casual soccer tournament has now become a pro-Orbán Christian political rally. Amb. Szöllősi explained that the Hungarian Foreign Ministry has a Sport Section to utilize sport as an extended arm of the government’s lobby efforts. At the gala dinner there were more politicians and religious leaders than soccer players. A bizarre proposal was floated to hold the 25th anniversary tournament in Felcsút, Hungary to honor Mr. Orbán’s village and the stadium he built next to his country home.

A large soccer stadium was built next to PM Orbán’s summer home at the village of Felcsút.

In the past Árpád Kupa was a casual, friendly soccer event. No religion, no politicians. Next year’s tournament is planned in Cleveland, Ohio. Let’s make sure that no Hungarian government politician will be present.

György Lázár

20 Comments

  1. How correct was I.V.Uljanov in his saying ‘ for us everything , the arts, the sports, etc. is the greatest tool of propaganda.’

    And just what is that “Puskas” malarki ? Without Puskas Hungary likely had been the 1953 world soccer champion. They defeated Germany in the semi-final game w/o Puskas. Than the party had to have their pin-up-boy Puskas on the winning team. But with Puskas it become the losing team. Only once in human history they had a chance, yet they had to blow that one and only chance, because bias and propaganda. Since than, Hungarian team could not even beat the Taliban or the boys scout team. Those geniuses has to f….p everything in life. Oh well, typical Hungarians ?

  2. Robert Morrison says:

    @Chris

    I found your “Your comment is awaiting moderation” method quite an effective tool of censorship. I guess this is the latest MOB in the arsenal of silencing the opposing views on this blog. Second to erasing my comments and just shy of outright banning and blocking me. I do not tolerate any further being suppressed and censored so here is my offer to you:
    – release my comments without any further delays as none of them are in contrast to your policies (other than not agreeing with the articles and the comments thereof)
    and stop this practice against me or
    – I join the numerous commenters that already left your blog in protest of your unjustified censorship.

    Before anybody erupts in joy reading the second option let me assure you that your blog will be at loss because I contributed to the quality of it by participating in an intellectual discussion in amicable manner. Nobody measured up to András and György the way I did while I stayed clear of you as you could see it for the simple reason of appreciating you’re running this block and not because I agreed with your articles.

    So Chris it is your choice but this is a dead end street as it is and I am not going to go along with it anymore.

    Best regards

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      You are welcome to leave this site and find one that better matches your political views. Your many comments will continue to be culled because I believe that you are in the employ of Hungary’s ruling party (you may work in a volunteer capacity, like most others) and your assignment is to troll this opposition site.

      • Have to say that I continue to be baffled by your behavior in this regard. It defies basic logic.

        I am going to take the liberty to assume that you are not doing this for personal gain, but rather that you are putting in all this effort because you want to change the minds of Hungarians in regards to Hungary and its current government, in order to produce the change you desire. How exactly is this behavior helpful? Let me remind you that credibility is essential to convincing people. I fail to see how developing a reputation for unfairly censoring people on your forum for the simple reason that they disagree with you can be helpful in this regard. I know that you are surrounded by those who will agree with you, and are in fact egging you on in this regard. But you do have to realize that theirs is a very radical view, which will not sit well with most people.

        “I don’t agree with you so I will censor you, so go comment somewhere else” is hardly the stuff that will win hearts and minds. It only resonates with the already converted radicals.

        • Hungarian Free Press says:

          The individual in question is not here to consider, reflect, debate or engage in dialogue. He is an activist of Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling party, and his role here is to troll this site. In prior months and years, the late prominent Fidesz publicist István Lovas did the same on these pages, except in his case he mostly trafficked in crude Holocaust denial or in attempts to provoke displays of antisemitism from others, by assuming fake Jewish identities that attacking Hungarians en bloc. He did exactly the same on Hungarian Spectrum. He used many aliases, but his IP addresses gave him away. In a few cases, he wrote something scandalous here and then wrote an article on his own site about the sort of horrendous things we allow in the comments section. In an article on our site we called him out for what he was doing. He never denied our claims and his trolling continued, though less frequently, under different aliases and new IPs, until two days before his death earlier this year, when this suddenly stopped forever.

          I spend $2,000 from my own pocket each year to maintain my two news sites. This is not a playground for certified Fidesz activists and trolls and I will continue to either cull their comments or delete them altogether.

          • OK! So if you think that what you are saying is reasonable, do you think that conservative sites should do the same to anyone associated with a left wing organization? “Oh, I know from their IP address, they are associated with Open Society, zap!” Do you really think that such considerations are fair reasons to censor someone?

            Besides, you have done the same to me and others, who I doubt are associated with Fidesz, or any other political movements. Perhaps you obsessively researched my IP address as well, so perhaps then you know that I am not associated with any such political movement.

            If you are so committed to this that you are not only putting in all this time, but investing $2000/year in maintaining it, you might want to think very carefully before you may do things that can ruin your reputation and that of this site.

            This is your site, and it is your right to do so, but my personal opinion is that you are throwing away all your effort by engaging in such petty behavior.

          • Hungarian Free Press says:

            To answer your question simply: yes. It is absolutely reasonable for a conservative site to remove and/or curtain the activities of people commenting if there is good reason to believe that said individuals are associated with a left-wing authoritarian foreign government, power or regime and if their purpose is to strategically devalue a site that is critical by flooding it with comments. If I published a piece on the disastrous rule of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and all of a sudden someone appeared on my site who began flooding us with comments defending that regime, while trying to discredit those opposed to it, I would first cull these comments and then eventually delete them, if this continued.

          • Riigghtt! So when you censored me, you suspected that I am associated with the Hungarian government?

  3. Very good suggestion Mr. Lázár. I’m afraid however, that the dollar is mightier than common sense. Viktor Orbán’s political players are flooding the zone with significant funds siphoned off from EU and Hungarian tax-payers, to promote the Hungarian autocracy in North America. Sport has been and is a favorite propaganda tool of autocratic regimes in Hungary. Since the base of the Hungarian diaspora in Canada and the US is less and less able or willing to finance it’s leadership’s archaic, backward-looking, alt-right fantasies, why not stuff the North American Hungarian Community leaders’ pockets full of overseas money and pretend these puppets represent the will of the local Hungarian community ? It is this slight of hand that’s behind the exodus of Hungarians in North America from their organized communities. This is why the Churches are empty, except for a handful of elderly folks, this is why Bálint Ódor and the other clowns in the photo above can’t make it with anyone, anyhow. Like the Hungarian national soccer team, they are all a bunch of losers.

  4. Robert Morrison says:

    Hungarian Free Press on October 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    @ Chris (I guess you are behind the reply) you are dead wrong in your “I believe that you are in the employ of Hungary’s ruling party … and your assignment is to troll this opposition site.”

    I am not and never has been member of ANY party in Hungary or in Canada.
    I have never even voted for Fidesz, and have not voted at all for the last 24 years in Hungary.

    I just have common sense and some ideas that I hold dear without being party-committed.
    One of these values is the equal treatment of ALL and the freedom of expression without aligning with the editor’s views.

    All those of you (and fore mostly the clueless commenters) who try to label me as ‘troll’ fascist, fidesznyik, etc, doing nothing but brushing off opposing ideas without the guts and the intelligence to debate. Even András lowered his rhetoric in that direction and changed it to sarcasm because he realized that I am on his intellect level and debate the issues on their merit rather than on political alignment.

  5. Robert Morrison says:

    Hungarian Free Press on October 4, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    “The individual in question is not here to consider, reflect, debate or engage in dialogue. He is an activist of Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling party, and his role here is to troll this site.”
    This is a baseless guessing Chris. Whilst the liberals use this tactics to influence the public opinion, it is quite astonishing that you wrote this without knowing me or taking the trouble to go back in time and read my comments carefully.

    Just to remind you, I never defended Orbán Viktor (and his family) or Fidesz but I voiced my opinion about the migrants’ policy which I fully agree with. I know on this site it is a capital crime, but ….

    As far as the late István Lovas is concerned I have nothing to do with his doings so please do not confuse yourself and the readers by inserting your rage about him while trying to justify censoring my comments.

    “I spend $2,000 from my own pocket each year to maintain my two news sites. This is not a playground for certified Fidesz activists and trolls and I will continue to either cull their comments or delete them altogether.”
    I commend you for such financial sacrifices (which hopefully you can deduct from your taxes) but that does not give you the right to arbitrary censor opposing comments while demanding the freedom of press from the Hungarian government. That is sheer hypocrisy.

  6. StrandedinSopron says:

    Regarding “censorship”, this is a privately operated blog, not one of my forints goes towards supporting its continuing existence.

    In contrast, the various Orbanist media outlets are kept in operation directly because of my and other Hungarians’ tax contributions. We have no say on the tripe which they pump out on a daily basis. Try putting an “opposing” comment on one of those sites’ comments section.

    I have *conservative* friends with whom I am perfectly capable of having reasoned conversation. The Orbanist Zombies are a different breed entirely. Viktor tells them today is Sunday, they believe it even when their diary tells them, quite clearly, “Thursday”.

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      This is exactly right. I have many Hungarian conservative friends (and non-Hungarian conservative friends too) with whom I am happy to debate any number of issues: public, private or hybrid health care, the nature, size and power of the state, market regulation, separation of church and state or the relationship between church and state, immigration policy, minority rights, federalism, decentralization, etc. And frankly, in many ways my own views are conservative or liberal-conservative too. There are no conservatives left in Fidesz. There were admittedly quite a few in the early days of this government, but not anymore. (Just one example is someone like Jeszenszky.) Today there are only zombies in Fidesz. One cannot and does not debate or dialogue with zombies.

  7. Robert Morrison says:

    @ Chris

    I am happy that my comment brought some life into this dull article. As you can see there is at least one ‘player’ on both side of the issue already. One uses arguments and expresses concerns about your reputation, the other throws punches and gears up the labelling machine. So much for reasonable debate.

    I guess I gave you all the reasons to re-evaluate your stand and I trust that common sense will prevail, thus my comments will get an ‘out-of-jail card’ and my opinion will be welcome on this site as an amicable debater’s contribution to the lively conversation regardless of who agrees with me and who does not.

    Looking forward to your positive actions.

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      Your comments regrettably bring no additional value to the article in question. If you find an article dull, then don’t comment on it. Moving forward, you will be permitted to comment when you bring a new perspective, based on some factual basis. Gratuitous jabs at the authors of this site or the repeat of Fidesz communication tactics and the party line, both of which you have mastered sufficiently, won’t do. If you must protest, I suggest you contact Ambassador Ódor: bodor@mfa.gov.hu .

  8. Fidesz trolls like Morrison descend on news sites and blogs to cause maximum damage. If the regime’s politicians and representatives travel to Toronto to hijack a sporting event, the Fidesz trolls come on these websites to hijack the comments section. Time to delete them all.

  9. @ Sheridan

    Well said. No doubt they’ll whine and cry censorship, and talk of your fear of debate. What they’ll gloss over is, their professional calling card. They are here to hinder rational, fact based debate and argument. For them Roger Stone’s, Donald Trump’s, Steve Bannon’s dictum is the gospel – facts are boring. The truth is irrelevant. Fictional, emotional narratives are more effective to rally the troops.

    The trolls don’t come here to enlighten us about reality, but to eliminate the boundary between reality and illusion. They are here at a critical time for humanity – they are racketeers who specialize in limiting the ability of participants in the political arena to weigh pros and cons according to the ethical rules of discourse. They come down here to call us unfair, as their masters build roadblocks to divert citizens from the path of justice, the rule of law and sustainable economic development.

  10. Bob Morrison;

    You complain of not being allowed to “praise Orban” here on this site ?!

    I have never praised Orban, or any politician here or on any site.
    As matter of fact did strongly criticised him and his entire administration, BUT only upon the provable facts.
    As Orban clearly demonstrated, like in the case of his EP defense against the Sargentini allegation, that he is a lousy politician and even worse lawyer.
    His over all function as head of government is piss poor.
    His administration is far too big, far too expensive, and unproductive.
    Yet , more of my comments eliminated than posted.
    The site’s director, just can not stop throwing his dirty dippers at me and calling me non-stop, as a “troll”.

    In any comments of mine, in case I dare to mention “freedom”, “individual liberties”, “Constitutional Republic”, “the peoples decision by majority vote” has always, without fail has been instantly eliminated here and on KMH.

    So Bob ,count you blessings, you are even allowed to criticize the site , its director and operator-censor.
    May be you were a good party member , not a class-enemy, like me:))

  11. @ Morrison (sic)

    “I am happy that my comment brought some life into this dull article.”

    I’m happy to note that in addition to your many flaws, you are also delusional. Why don’t you and your alter-ego Joey stop your whining, go back into the alley and amuse yourselves in a garbage can with that other alley-cat Bendy goose ? No one takes the cat miaous of alley cats seriously. While you’re at it, why not get a shampoo ? You happen to stink, alley cat 🙂

    • Robert Morrison says:

      Sorry András, but I am not permitted to reply to you in matching style.

      Unfortunately what you are allowed to scribe here and the attitude you permitted to display is forbidden to me. As a competitive player you might agree with me in that I do not like to play with one hand tied behind my back while the other is holding a ping pong ratchet in a tennis game, even if I could beat you with such handicap.

      Just enjoy your freedom of expression while I go to the back alley and poop on this whole blog.

      HFP does not deserve my attention anymore and I withdraw my ‘services’ from it as it has been unbecoming. Good bye András, good bye Chris and good bye György.

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