Budapest, December 12 (MTI) – Jobbik and green opposition LMP oppose a planned legal amendment enabling the prime minister, government ministers and state secretaries to head sports associations.
Jobbik lawmaker György Szilágyi told a press conference on Monday that such appointments would be allowed under the amendment to the law on the fulfilment of state duties. Ruling Fidesz has “encroached” on a professional dispute at the swimming association and plans to appoint a “party soldier” to head the association with the help of custom-fit legislation, he said.
Tamás Gyárfás recently resigned as president of the Hungarian Swimming Association, declaring that his resignation was the best way to help the sport.
Earlier this month, several swimmers including Katinka Hosszú, three-time Rio Olympic champion, and coaches called on Gyárfás to resign and urged reforms in the swimming association.
The office of the state secretary for sports said the state would not interfere but called for an urgent resolution, also taking into consideration that Hungary will host the 2017 World Aquatics Championships, “the largest ever sports event in Hungary”.
Szilagyi said the government was gradually taking over all leading positions at sports associations, appointing only people with links to ruling party Fidesz.
LMP lawmaker István Ikotity told MTI that it is unacceptable that the government was preparing the ground for influential politicians to head sports associations. He asked Fidesz lawmakers not to approve the amendment proposal on Tuesday.
Sport associations headed by ruling party politicians:
Wrestling – Szilárd Németh, Ministerial Commissioner (Fidesz)
Table Tennis – Nátrán Roland, former Secretary of State (Fidesz)
Diving – Bence Tuzson, State Secretary (Fidesz)
Fencing – Zsolt Csampa, former State Secretary (Fidesz)
Rowing – Szabolcs Tamás Bényi, director of the Szeged government asset manager (Fidesz delegate)
Tennis – Lajos Szűcs, a Fidesz MP
Triathlon – Béla Bátorfi, Orbán’s dentist
Handball – Máté Kocsis, József City mayor (Fidesz)
Basketball – Ferenc Szalay, Fidesz mayor of Szolnok (Fidesz)
Ice skating – Lajos Kósa, Fidesz parliamentary group leader