UEFA President Michel Platini has visited Hungary, where he met the country's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the president of the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ), Sándor Csányi. Mr Platini also attended the FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Hungary and Estonia in Budapest.
Mr Platini expressed his appreciation of the work the MLSZ is undertaking to develop facilities and football at grassroots level, while also emphasising that a zero-tolerance approach towards racism is very important in order to take the sport forward. He also welcomed the cooperation between the association and the Hungarian government, which announced an agreement on the construction of football stadiums in the country.
"I am very happy to be a witness at important moments such as the announcement of this agreement," the UEFA President said. "It is more new evidence that the Prime Minister of the country and his government stands together with the football association in terms of its commitment to Hungarian football's development."
The UEFA President reiterated his stance on the issue of racism within football. "We are at a point where only a stance of zero tolerance from football's leadership can be acceptable," Mr Platini said. "We must do everything we can to eradicate racism from football. We have decided to eject from stadia all those who make racist statements, close those stands from where such statements are made – for a long time if necessary.
"We ask every association that they remain steadfast in their zero-tolerance approach so that not even the slightest manifestation of racism is allowed in their stadia. Thanks therefore go to the MLSZ and the government for starting to go down the route supported by UEFA in this question, and also for making visible steps in regard to the development of youth football and infrastructures."
Mr Orbán reinforced Mr Platini's message. "The Hungarian government has asked from the MLSZ that racist or uncultured, primitive behaviour is not given a place in stadiums. These venues should become popular with Hungarian families for matches for which everyone can feel comfortable taking their children."
Sándor Csányi spoke of infrastructure development at his association. "The MLSZ has carried out work with regard to analysing the condition of infrastructure and facilities," he said as he detailed a major campaign to upgrade stadia, lay pitches and renovate existing surfaces. "The development of amateur football has been part of the association's programmes, and we have achieved great results, in that in the recent past, the number of teams has increased by the thousand, so that now there are places where football is being played where it had disappeared for decades."
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