- Our own school, mini-stadium and museum
- Partner clubs nationwide and beyond the border
- The PUSKÁS-SUZUKI CUP
- In partnership with Videoton
- Private education and partner schools
- Social responsibility
- The Real institute
- Spiritual centre
"Whatsoever a man soweth so shall he also reap"
Eponym: Ferenc Puskás
Felcsút's centre for the education of aspiring young footballers, lying 40 kilometres to the west of Budapest, the capital of Hungary, was opened on 1st April 2007, the 80th birthday of its legendary eponym, the late footballing genius Ferenc Puskás, in the presence of many dignitaries from the world of football including a delegation representing the president of UEFA. It adopted the name of Hungary's most famous citizen with the permission of the Puskás family, which has actively supported the initiative ever since. The academy's founder was current Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, himself of Felcsút and who still now spends plenty of time in the village. He is well-known for his love of football and even today is a registered player for the Felcsút SE club where he'd already played football as a child prior to his high school years in Székesfehérvár. As he said at the opening ceremony; "Hungarian football can only be supported if, building from the base up, we do our utmost to nurture to the highest standard the next generation of footballers. To this end we have established with the help of benefactors a football academy, not just for our own joy, but more so that we can nurture talented footballers who can later benefit the whole of Hungarian football."
These most talented of youngsters can develop thanks to a curriculum geared towards football but with extra emphasis on the study of languages and the character-building attributes of sport. "Primarily we nurture people here, who additionally play football outstandingly well...", added the current Prime Minister of Hungary at the time of its opening.
The basic infrastructure for the complex was already in place at the beginning but over the years it has grown substantially, starting in 1999 when Viktor Orbán 'came home' and signed for the club which, even while in office as Prime Minister, he would go on to still be a regular member of. The manor house, once used as a haberdashery store, was completely rebuilt and enlarged with an extra floor based on the designs of the school's architect Imre Makovecz and currently acts as home to fifty to sixty academy students who share twin or triple bedrooms. At the same time in 2009 the Professional Guidance and Medical Centre was consecrated and this was followed in 2010 by the new wing, a similarly entrancing spectacle courtesy of Makovecz which gives a home to the restaurant, kitchen, communications department, the Hungarian editorial office of the 'FourFourTwo' football magazine and the imposing circular conference room.
The building work still didn't stop there; a new dormitory building was erected on the other side of Fo utca, this apartment block ensuring room for thirty 17-19 year-old, final-year students.
The number of football pitches is also continually growing. Next to the former village pitch, now the main pitch, a range of training pitches including two artificial and five natural grass pitches as well as a test pitch based on the patent of Dr György Mezey can be found; the first Felcsút artificial pitch currently being the only two-star FIFA-classified pitch in the country.
We haven’t yet mentioned the covered artificial turf in the hall, the so-called ‘testing pitch’, which, thanks to its in-house computer software and special equipment, is capable of measuring numerous data important for football and for recording the footballer’s physical, technical and dietary measurements. Due to the stadium construction that started in 2012, this hall has been moved to Székesfehérvár where, in the neighbourhood of the Sóstói Stadion, the Puskás Academy has also been the subject of important developments. “A new three-thousand square-metre school building will be ready in 2012, a private high school which will be open to external students for the Letenyey Lajos vocational college, whilst the commencement of the construction of a 3,500 capacity mini-stadium on the site of the old centre pitch has begun, as has that of a covered full-size pitch for winter training purposes. Then there is the museum and archive and the existing Puskás Institute building too. I believe that once we are ready with all these, Europe’s largest youth football centre will come into being in Felcsút” – states Lorinc Mészáros, Mayor of Felcsút since 2010 and President of the Board of Trustees of the foundation which operates the academy.
The Ferenc Puskás Football Academy collaborates with smaller and larger youth clubs across the country; close to fifty partner clubs with whose help the most talented footballers always remain within sight of the Academy's operations director József Tajti, scout Gábor Hartyányi and the coaching staff. Experts from these partner institutions participate once a year in a professional conference at Felcsút and during the year also maintain constant contact with the Academy. The development of sub-centres in Carpathian Ruthenia and the Székely Land is also underway.
In partnership with Suzuki, Hungary's largest car manufacturer, the institute has since 2008 organised the annual PUSKÁS-SUZUKI CUP tournament for Under 17 youth footballers, a competition which has grown into one of the most prestigious club football events for its age group and features, amongst other teams, the regular participation of clubs to which Ferenc Puskás' career is strongly tied: Real Madrid, Panathinaikos, Honvéd and the Puskás Academy.
The Professional Guidance Board is responsible for the Academy's sport and education strategy; its president is former Hungary national team coach Imre Gellei and amongst others its expert members include Gyula Grosics, Jeno Buzánszky, Ferenc Kovács, Dr György Mezey and József Tóth-Zele.
The Academy has a professional collaboration agreement with top-tier NB I club Videoton Fehérvár FC, through which the most talented youngsters leaving the institute have a direct route to the top division in Hungary and from there to abroad. Many of the age groups at youth level operate jointly under the Videoton Puskás Akadémia name, added to which is second-tier NB II club Videoton Puskás Akadémia which plays in Felcsút and is a sister team, legally independent but under the professional supervision of Videoton, as is the third-level NBIII team, Videoton Puskás Academy, with ever-increasing numbers of academy students in its ranks. Videoton, historically one of Hungary's larger clubs having reached the UEFA Cup final in 1985, also uses the Felcsút training complex as a technical centre and frequently trains here under the observation of the world-famous Portuguese head coach Paulo Sousa.
The Puskás Academy also has its own school buildings which due to limited free time strive to cater onsite for the education needs of the students. The Vajda János Gimnázium és Szakközépiskola (János Vajda High School and Technical School) in Bicske and the Premonstratensian Order have long been partners of the Academy, the latter through the Zsámbék ecclesiastic high school and the Gödöllo high school, but many teachers employed by the Academy also work separately with the private students at the institute. Furthermore, in the academic year 2012-2013 the Academy’s private school as well as the agriculture industry- and tourism-focused Lajos Letenyey Vocational College, named after the local 19th century nobleman, agriculturalist, writer and landowner, will start operating.
The Puskás Academy doesn't only carry out prominent work in the field of sport but is also at the forefront of undertaking social responsibility in Felcsút and its surroundings as well as taking an active role in tourism development. For years the Academy has supported every prominent local cultural and leisure event and played an active role in the development of the Endresz György Elementary School in Felcsút, in addition to undertaking the lion's share in the expansion and renovation of the Kastély Óvoda nursery school in Felcsút. The Academy built a full-size artificial pitch at the grounds of its partner club in Bicske, the Bicskei Torna Club, a third-level NB III club which many academy students play for. Two years ago the Puskás Academy Foundation also bought and since then operates the upgraded three-star Puskás Akadémia Sport Hotel in Alcsútdoboz and, now, in the framework of an agreement concluded with the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate, it has undertaken to run the botanical garden at Alcsút as well. The future development affecting the rail line between Felcsút and Vértesacsa is closely related to this; the Academy Foundation has bought this section of the long-since unused branch line between Bicske and Székesfehérvár and the station buildings in order to run a small railway in the future and build a cycle path alongside the tracks. The Alcsút-Felcsút railway-station building has now been renovated as a guest house which retains its original beautiful form and the Academy has already carried out foundation work on the Vértesacsa station building. Among the long-term plans is also the renovation of the Habsburg Castle at Alcsút which was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War.
In September 2011 the Puskás Academy and Real Madrid Foundation will jointly commence the Real institute, the official name of which will be the Felcsúti Szociális Sportiskola az Egyenlo Esélyekért (Felcsút Social Sport School for Equal Opportunities) and which, through sport (football and basketball), environmental science education and social aid, will help integrate some one hundred indigent - in part, Romani - boys and girls into society.
Felcsút's football academy is today an important professional and spiritual centre for Hungarian and international football. Tending to the professional legacy of Ferenc Puskás, it goes beyond the high-level school and sports training; the foundations for an existing library, museum and scientific institute have also been laid. Furthermore, the Academy's very own cable TV channel, which broadcasts mainly football-themed programmes and live match coverage to ten villages, aids in the building of the archive.
Felcsút's centre for football instantly became known around the world when on 20 October 2009 Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, was present here to announce the establishment of the FIFA Puskás Award (FIFA awards this prize annually to the player scoring the 'Goal of the Year'), and at the invitation of Viktor Orbán, signed the agreement to this with Ferenc Puskás' widow.
Another significant announcement was made in November 2011 when, in the presence of the Hungarian Prime Minister, it was made public that a decision made by the family of Ferenc Puskás will mean his huge legacy from Spain; his trophies, photographs, personal belongings taking up some twenty large crates, will be stored and archived in Felcsút. This collection constitutes the foundation material of the Felcsút Puskás Institute, which constantly collects and preserves Hungarian footballing memorabilia. On the day of the Puskás collection’s arrival in Hungary it was also announced that football memorabilia from the collection of legendary IOC member Árpád Csanádi has been entrusted to the Puskás Academy by his wife and son. News has also been released that the mini-stadium being prepared in accordance with the designs of Imre Makovecz will be inaugurated in 2014 and the Puskás Institute building is expected to be completed in the coming years.
|Puskás Ferenc Labdarúgó Akadémia||HUNGARY 8086 Felcsút, Fő u. 174-176.|
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