Hungarian giant Ferencvárosi reinforce anti-discrimination strategy28 May 2015

Hungarianprofessionalclub FerencvárosiTornaClubisreinforcingtheiranti-discriminationstrategy byfurtheringawareness-raisingcampaignstoaddressanddiscusstheproblemamongfans.

Aware of the club’s responsibility to address the topic following a series of incidents in the past, Ferencvárosi recently launched a video highlighting the team’s unity, multiculturalism and strive to achieve the same goals. A short version of the video was first published ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March) to mark the day and the club’s willingness to tackle discrimination.

Over the recent years the club’s image has been marred by a number of discriminatory incidents led by groups of Ferencvárosi supporters.

In March 2013 Ferencvárosi fans were seen displaying racist banners at a domestic match against Újpest. The club was consequently fined by the Hungarian Football Federation as a recurring ofender and ordered to play one match behind closed doors.

Five months later, a banner honouring the memory of Laszlo Csatary, one of the last remaining Holocaust war crime suspects, was displayed by Ferencvárosi fans at the match against MTK Budapest. In 2004, the Budapest derby was also marred by discriminatory incidents. At the time, supporters of Ferencvárosi engaged in continuous anti-Semitic chanting whilst waving a Neo-Nazi flag.

In July 2014, the Hungarian club was again sanctioned for their fans’ behaviour, this time by UEFA, for displaying far-right banners and performing Nazi salutes at the Europa League match against the Maltese side Sliema Wanderers FC. Ferencvárosi were fined and ordered a partial stadium closure.

In response to the latter, in October the club joined Fare and thousands of groups across Europe to challenge and raise awareness of discrimination during the Football People action weeks. Ferencvárosi players of different nationalities, including Zoltán Gera (Hungary) and Roland Lamah (Belgium), participated in a video addressing the topic to fans. The club also organised an anti-discrimination activity in which they invited fans and ethnic minority groups to participate and further the video’s message of inclusion.

Ferencvárosi anti-discrimination strategy kicked-off in 2012. In 2013 and 2014, two video spots strengthened the campaign, the first highlighting that on pitch and off the pitch everyone is equal, and the second featuring some of the club’s legends, the head coach, Thomas Doll, and two current players, Gábor Gyömbér and Somalia, saying ‘no to racism’.