Romanian and Hungarian ice hockey players sang together the Szekler national anthem with the fans following the Hungary-Romania match on Sunday. The Romanian political elite reacted with outrage, saying that Romanian players – 90 pc of whom are Szekler Hungarians – humiliated Romania. They added that players were not worthy of wearing the red-yellow-blue jersey.
Last Sunday, the Hungarian and Romanian national teams met in the Division 1/A Ice Hockey World Championships in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Following the match, the Hungarian players of the two teams sang together the Szekler national anthem with the fans – Helló Magyar reported.
Marcel Ciolacu, Chairman of the Socialist Party (PSD), said that what happened is
an unacceptable provocation
in the light of the Ukrainian war. He added that the matter will be discussed in the governing coalition of which the Hungarian RMDSZ party is also a member. “These exaggerations have no place in Romania after 30 years of democracy. Everybody has to understand that Romania and Europe entered another era. During war times, such provocations are intolerable” – Ciolacu referred to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.
The president of the House of Representatives said they always showed respect towards the Hungarian RMDSZ party and the local minorities. However, such events that happened after the match cannot occur again.
Adrian Cozma, Vice-Chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL), asked Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca to dismiss Barna Tánczos (RMDSZ), Romania’s Minister of Environment, Water and Forests. The Romanian press wrote that he was sitting in the Hungarian sector during the match. Tánczos, a former president of the Romanian Ice Hockey Association, said on Facebook that many Romanian fans were sitting in the Hungarian fan sector. A Romanian family wore the Romanian national colours just a couple of metres away from his seat. Tánczos wore the jersey of the Csíkszereda ice hockey club. Most players of the national team play in that club, he added.
Cozma said that singing the Szekler national anthem was an appalling act. He added that Romanian players humiliated Romania and Tánczos supported that with his presence. “Romania’s symbols are saints for every Romanian regardless of their nationality. Those not respecting the symbols cannot be members of the Romanian Government” – he stressed.
Social democrat Transport Minister, Sorin Grindeanu, called the incident a shameful attack on the country’s identity. He asked Sports Minister Eduárd Novák (RMDSZ) to punish the players. “Those not respecting Romania should not wear the red-yellow-blue”, he fumed on social media.
Hunor Kelemen, RMDSZ Chairman, said that his party was proud of the Romanian ice hockey team since they made it to the world championships. He added that 90 pc of the team consists of Hungarian players. Nobody should be punished groundlessly. “Our solidarity is with those unfairly attacked” – he highlighted.
Botond Csoma, leader of RMDSZ’s parliamentary group, gave a speech on the issue in the House of Representatives. He called the Szekler national anthem a value for the Hungarians living in Romania and that it should not offend the country or the Romanians. “There are a lot of regional identities in the country, like the Szekler. But this makes us stronger as a community and as a state, too”, he added.
The ice hockey match finished with the Hungarian team’s 4-2 victory. However, nothing was at stake for the teams. The Romanian team finished the tournament in fifth place, so it became clear that they would continue in Division I/B. Meanwhile, the Hungarian team finished second. Thus, they will play in the world elite next year.
Source: Helló Magyar