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FC Újpest:- a new club logo & women belong in the kitchen - Parts 1&2

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New club logo wrong: "Women belong in the kitchen!" Part 1

Monday, July 24, 2017 at 14:50

ÚJPEST - "I would like to use a Flemish sentence:" Please, sir, go home!

Come on, you guys, come on! "Flórián Urbán's voice is full of emotion. On the street outside Szusza Ferenc Stadium, the home of twenty-five times champions FC Újpest, he speaks to the crowd. Urbán preaches, and then soaks up the applause.

By Gijs Freriks

Flórián Urbán
On June 26th, the management of Újpest announced they will change the club logo. They gave the fans the opportunity to vote for one of three new designs, but the supporters had no desire for a new logo, and their subsequent uprising culminated in explosive language on social media, protest marches an impassioned speech by former defender Flórian Urbán, outside the stadium. "This is my home. My heart has always been at Újpest. When I stopped playing football, I always believed that I could continue to serve this club as a coach. But I was never given that chance," said Urbán. "The club got a Belgian owner and I trusted him because I spent six years playing in Belgium, - I know those people."

"A Belgian friend of mine called the new owner to ask if I could be considered for a job at the club, - my heart and soul lay at Újpest. However, the new owner said he had full confidence in a certain woman, and said he could not really use a drinker like me," said Urbán. The Belgian owner in question is Roderick Duchâtelet.

FC Újpest were looking for a buyer in the autumn of 2011, and approached Roland Duchâtelet, former owner of Standard Liège. However, he had no desire to run the club and instead pushed his son Roderick forward. In October 2011, the deal was done: Roderick Duchâtelet received more than 94 percent of the club’s shares.

A few months later, Duchâtelet promoted the 'organizational director', and so Gyarmati Eszter became General Director of FC Újpest. These two have formed a long-lasting partnership, as chairman and general director, but since July 3rd, they’ve had a major falling-out with the fans. That was the date the club announced it had chosen a new logo, based on a fan’s poll. However, the supporters had not been given the choice to vote for the existing logo. The newspaper Nemzeti Sport carried out an alternative poll on their website, where 71.9% of voters opted to retain the old logo.

Whether Flórián Urbán took part in the poll is not known. Neverthless, his opinion is not in doubt: "It's ok if you want to chase me away from the club, but you cannot unravel the club's history and traditions, the club is our life," he said, just a few hours before Újpest took the field for a pre-season friendly match against Dunakanyar-Vác (3-1 win).

Apparently Urbán was not protesting for himself alone, because he said, he spoke for about two hundred other members. In addition, the hard-core support of FC Újpest, and even the mayor had expressed their displeasure about the change of the emblem. Meanwhile FC Újpest's fan took to social media to make their point.

"We understand that changing the logo has been an idea of ​​a woman at our club. From now on, Gyarmati Eszter is enemy number one. Nobody has the right to interfere with our historical logo. The last time such a thing could happen, was under the dictatorship of Mátyás Rákosi (one-time Hungarian communist leader). Whoever is not in this battle is a traitor of FC Újpest. The souvenir sellers must not sell any products with the new logo of FC Újpest, otherwise they will have to bear the consequences. That also applies to fans, traitors, who support this deliberate falsification of our club history. We will organize the first demonstration against Eszter on Saturday, at the stadium."

Mayor Zsolt Láng, a member of Conservative Fidesz, the party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, supported the fans’ initiative: "Nobody understands the reasons behind this insulting action. Duchâtelet just wants to destroy us. He wants to destroy our football community, the emblem and our traditions. He shows zero respect for Újpest Torna Egylet (UTE), - our big family,” (that is the sports association which includes FC Újpest, as well as a number of other sports clubs).

UTE was given the opportunity to meet with the football club management, where the association requested emphatically and repeatedly, that the club reverse the decision. It also pointed out that FC Újpest should have asked the permission of UTE, before even considering such an important decision.

Despite the confrontational language of the mayor, and especially of the hard-core fans of FC Újpest, the demonstration on 8th July, passed peacefully. The police did not have to intervene at any time. We are now two and a half weeks on, but that does not mean the storm has blown over. On the contrary: during the first league match of the season on July 15 (Paksi, 2-2), the supporters turned on Duchâtelet and Eszter with a barrage of insulting chants that lasted for the entire ninety minutes. Afterwards the disciplinary committee of the Hungarian Football Association awarded the club a penalty for "racist and sexist expressions". In addition, a number of supporters were ejected from the stadium.


  • Part 2

    Offshore companies
    Duchâtelet has adopted Hungarian nationality, bought real estate in the country, sends his children to school in Budapest, and runs a football club. In short, the boss of FC Újpest seems to have committed himself to Budapest life.

    At the time of the acquisition in 2011, Duchâtelet said, "I am aware of the circumstances in which I take over the club, but the shortcomings of the team will be resolved quickly, and we want to make the club financially healthy. We want to revive the successes of the seventies.” He later added that all efforts should lead to sporting success, at the latest by 2019. By then the benefits of Duchâtelet’s leadership and vision would have come to manifest itself on the field, he assured.
    In the 1970s, FC Újpest achieved, among other things, the semi-final of the Champions League and seven domestic championships, but almost no one assumes that FC Újpest will be able to make similar achievements by 2019. The club finished seventh last season, and have not spent one penny for the current season, although eleven players have left. Duchâtelet promised golden mountains in 2011, but since his arrival Újpest never finished higher than sixth place in the Nemzeti Bajnokság I.

    It might have all gone better if Duchâtelet had been able to focus on FC Újpest from day one, but this has not been the case. Duchâtelet assuming that he would eliminate the debt of about one million euros, paid previous owner Tolnai Sándor, one symbolic euro. "Sándor had already worked with my father Roland, and so came the contact. My father sought a successor for Standard Liège, and thought that this would be a great opportunity for me. FC Újpest is a beautiful club, so I am very pleased with that," said Roderick Duchâtelet at the time.

    What he did not know, was that the seller was not Tolnai Sándor, but an offshore company in Cyprus, called Sponteford Ltd.

    Following the transfer of shares, various off-shore companies, including Sponteford Ltd, sent an unrelenting stream of bills to FC Újpest. "Their demands were controversial and invalid, but Duchâtelet paid almost every penny, and as a result, the club's debt grew. When another offshore company submitted a claim for 620,000 euros, Duchâtelet decided enough was enough. He said he would no longer pay questionable demands from offshore companies," Csongor Visontai, FC Újpest's legal counsel, said. A graphologist was commissioned and concluded that the claims were all from one and the same entity and signed in the same period, although the submitted accounts were spread over a few years. The Tax Administration conducted an inquiry and discovered a whole network of offshore companies from Cyprus to the Seychelles, around FC Újpest. There were flawed contracts, fake Invoices, VAT fraud and so on. The financial damage to the football club was reported to have exceeded five million euros, - an amount Duchâtelet refused to pay.

    Sándor, the man who had transferred the shares of FC Újpest to Duchâtelet, former general director István Csehi and their business partners; Péter Kovács, Tibor Kukorelli and Ildiko Buda, went on the defensive. István Csehi denied all allegations, claiming that the offshore companies had indeed provided services to FC Újpest, and further argued that Duchâtelet was simply trying to avoid paying taxes. However, Duchâtelet was absolved of any wrong-doing and went about forming a new company. The entity changed from Újpest Football Club Ltd to Újpest 1885 Football Kft, which allowed the new FC Újpest to no longer be held liable for past misconduct. "So, we left the past behind us." Said Duchâtelet in November 2014 to Sport/Football Magazine. However, FC Újpest had to tackle one more problem.

    Duchâtelet had to obtain the license to take over the previous FC Újpest, otherwise they would have to start in the lower regions of the Hungarian football pyramid. Duchâtelet told a press conference that if that were to happen, he would walk away from the club. In the event, Duchâtelet could breathe easy, when the new company was granted a license in March 2014, and the club was saved.
    The offshore companies are not known, but FC Újpest has been able to make a fresh start. And to mark the new start, Duchâtelet and Eszter wanted a new club logo. "This wish makes it clear that the board does not respect FC Újpest's traditions and former footballers," said the 48-year-old Flórián Urbán, this month in Nemzeti Sport. He added that this was something the club should have discussed first, and then spoke sneeringly bout director Gyarmati Eszter: "I have always said there is no place for women in football. Women belong in the kitchen, washing and cleaning, they should not be in charge. For such comments Urbán, who has become the face of the protest against the new club logo, has understandably been criticised on social media. "We women are sometimes inclined to be indignant when a man says that the only right of a woman is in the kitchen. Frankly, I do not understand this," so journalist and humourist Kormos Anett reacted ton Facebook. "On the one hand, there are people who really feel for each other. How would Florián react to a woman who sometimes goes to the library, writes, reads and communicates with an extensive vocabulary? I’ve no doubt that would be embarrassing for him. Everyone must be treated equal.”

    Everyone who has seen the new club logo dislikes it, but the dissatisfied fans misrepresent themselves in word and gesture, shouting for the head of the chairman and general director, and even the mayor interferes with the issue. Perhaps the only thing that can bring the club into calm waters is sporting success.

    "We know the Hungarian market better and better, so we know exactly what we are doing," said Duchâtelet last month. "I am convinced that even with players leaving we will be stronger than last season, I’m sure we will finish higher. We want to do better in the competition and want to win the cup.

  • They may mean well but the Duchatelet clan are just clueless where football and traditions are concerned

  • Very interesting article, BiB. In the Wikipedia article on Újpest, footnote 96 leads to some details of the Nemzeti Sport badge poll. A total of 7800 voted, of which 6100 (78.2%) opted for the old badge. The design the club chose managed only 535, the lowest of the three new options. Yet the club still chose it, ugly thing that it is.

    Roderick seems further proof of the old saying in Dutch "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree".
  • Don't get that as the foundation date is on the new badge and I saw the new badge as an "artistic" representation of the anchor.

    But it's not my club or badge
  • Don't get that as the foundation date is on the new badge and I saw the new badge as an "artistic" representation of the anchor.

    But it's not my club or badge

    You're right, the foundation date is on the new design contrary to what the article says.

    A stylised anchor? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it seems pretty dumb to alienate a football community and ride rough-shod over tradition, for the sake of a modern logo.
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Roland Out!