Go-Ahead for ‘Greater Hungary’ Football Banners Irritates Romania

Romanian politicians and Romania's Football Federation criticised the Hungarian Football Federation, MLSZ, for announcing on Tuesday that UEFA had decided that displaying the map of Greater Hungary on flags or banners at matches does not constitute a racist act, so Hungarian supporters will be able to use the symbol at official matches.

The spokesperson of the ruling Romanian Liberal National Party and former Sports Minister, Ionut Stoe, on Wednesday, said the decision would encourage historical revisionism in Hungary, where nationalists are nostalgic for the much bigger pre-World War I borders of Hungary - which included much of modern Romania.

"Such an event would set a dangerous precedent. It would contradict all the principles governing the sport. It would only blow the sails of the extremists who are always fishing anyway in troubled times like today," said Stroe.

He also said that until UEFA's position is clarified, he advised everyone to refrain from commenting on something that could "be a story far from reality", and which would only serve the aims "of those who want tension, division and a weakening of our societies".

MLSZ issued a statement that it will now allow the use of such flags and banners at matches because it "symbolizes respect for historical Hungary and solidarity with supporters from abroad".

"Supporters will only be able to display the representative map of Greater Hungary, no other symbols or inscriptions," MLSZ explained.

The Hungarian national team will host Estonia for an international friendly on Friday in Budapest and Bulgaria for a qualifier on Monday. The MLSZ warned the fans that flags or drapery should not contain any political or racist slogans, or they will be banned.

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