to Cost 180 Million
INDEX / Hungarian News Service
4 December 2006, 9:18
Pál Schmitt, president of the tribute committee assembled for Ferenc
Puskás's funeral, denied reports that the funeral for Ferenc Puskás, who
passed away on 17 November, would cost half a billion forints. Former
world greats and current football leaders are expected at the ceremony on
organised in the most economical way a farewell that is still worthy of
our nation's dearly departed, something that contributes to the nation
image, just as his entire life's work did," said Pál Schmitt, President of
the Ferenc Puskás Tribute Committee, in reference to the farewell ceremony
for the legendary footballer, who passed away on 17 November.
Half a Billion Forint Figure Made-up
has never been a word about half a billion forints. The total expense, in
which I included everything and which we have submitted to the government,
was altogether a sum of 180 million forints. Out of that, the cost of the
actual ceremony - that is, the nation's farewell - is as of now 85 million
forints. That is far from the sum reported in the press. I intended to
handle the farewell ceremony discretely and very economically - and that
is how I'm going to do it. I regret that the material considerations have
taken such priority. We are awaiting an answer from the government on
Monday how much of the cost they would like take on. The Hungarian Olympic
Committee (MOB) and the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) will also
contribute according to their abilities," the front man for the Hungarian
Olympic Committee announced to the Hungarian News Service (MTI)
Would Have Cremated
reference to the rising costs, Schmitt mentioned as examples the city
costs, police costs, and military, further mentioning the participation of
the Roman Catholic Church and Ferenc Puskás Stadium, or in particular the
gun carriage that would transport the coffin. At the same time, he added,
many donations had arrived.
to the original conception, the former outstanding player for Budapest
Honvéd and Real Madrid would have been cremated; however, this is to be
followed by a final burial.
"I personally took a look at the urn repository that the family had
already purchased in the crypt of Saint Stephen's Basilica, but I was not
satisfied with it, because I believe that Puskás's eternal resting place
will be a national, even international place of pilgrimage. We managed to
get a place to inter a coffin from the church. It's in more worthy,
dignified surroundings, and it will fulfil its function as the tomb of
Puskás after the burial."
Stadium Will Again Be Packed
December, a Thursday, Ferenc Puskás will be laid out in Saint Stephen's
Basilica, and that day all visitors may pay their respects between ten in
the morning and eight at night. On Saturday, 9 December, the gates of
Puskás Stadium will open at two in the afternoon; the nation's farewell is
to begin at 4 p.m. Guests from abroad will also attend. In the words of
the tribute committee's president, "I believe we will pack the stadium,
just like Puskás packed it in his time."
"A celebration will take place which will be memorable for everyone
who comes out. The nation's farewell will be very spectacular and
beautiful. Everyone is asked to bring a candle. Everyone present
will receive a remembrance card. A delegation of five former players
from Real Madrid - Gento and Kopa among them - will attend the
ceremony in the stadium."
Four to Speak in the Stadium
Stadium, Ramon Calderon, President of Real Madrid, and Pál
Schmitt, Chairman of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB), as
well as one-time teammate Jenő Buzánsky will deliver speeches.
György Szepesi, representing the Hungarian Football
Association, will also play a role.
coffin will be transported by gun carriage at around 5 p.m. The military
salute in Heroes' Square is scheduled for 6 p.m. "Indeed," noted Pál
Schmitt, "Ferenc Puskás was promoted posthumously to brigadier general."
After the military honours, which will last about 15 minutes, the
procession will make its way to the basilica. Roughly at 7 p.m., the Roman
Catholic ceremony will begin. László Kiss-Rigó, bishop of Szegd-Csanád
County and a player on the Catholic Eleven Best, will officiate.
Presidents' Farewell in the Basilica
also be given in the basilica. At that time, László Sólyom,
President of the Republic, as well as a government
representative, and further, in the name of the International
Olympic Committee, Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch
will bid their farewells. At the same time, a joint
representative for the International and the European Football
Associations will speak, either FIFA President Joseph Blatter
or Golden Ball-winner Michel Platini. István Kisteleki,
President of the Hungarian Football Association, will also say
goodbye to the legendary footballer at the evening mass.
Samaranch knew Puskás very well. I would say they were friends,"
expressed Pál Schmitt, at the same time remarking that Jacques Rogge,
current NOB President and a member of the tribute committee as well,
would be present at the Asian Games at the time of the farewell.
the Family to Accompany Him to the Final Resting Place
basilica can hold around eight hundred, maximum one thousand. Strict
attention must be paid to diplomatic and government protocol, as well as
sports hierarchy. We have invited the diplomatic institutions,
particularly from those countries where Puskás lived. We would like to
serve everyone and seat each person in an appropriate place. We will try
to have the entire ceremony projected on a screen for those remaining
outside," continued Pál Schmitt.
According to the plan, after the mass, somewhat after 8 p.m., only the
family will accompany Ferenc Puskás on his final journey into the crypt.
A Number of Greats to Attend the Ceremony
the delegation from Real Madrid, which must travel home after the stadium
ceremony, a significant delegation is to arrive from Greece as well. That
group will include Puskás's former players and former Panathinaikosz
footballers, whom he coached to the 1971 European Championship Cup. At
least ten to twelve football association presidents will come to Budapest,
as well as several executive members of the International (FIFA) and
European (UEFA) Football Associations. As far as politicians from abroad,
there are no specifics so far. It is still under consideration. Among the
great footballers, however, besides Gento and Kopa, Bobby Charlton and
Franz Beckenbauer are to attend. In the stadium, all of the leading
Hungarian footballers will say goodbye to Puskás together. The Hungarian
Football Association (MLSZ) and the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB) will
also hold an exclusive ceremonial dinner in honour of the high-ranking