16 months before the opening ceremony of the European Maccabi Games, we talked to Péter Deutsch, managing director of EMG 2019 Sport Organizing ltd. about the future and the state of preparations.
– Two and a half years ago Budapest won the bid to host the 2019 European Maccabi Games. Many things happened since then. Could you summarize what went down?
– After Budapest’s successful candidacy, Maccabi VAC, MTK Budapest, the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities and the European Maccabi Confederation created a project company, which is in charge of controlling the organization of the event. We are progressing according to a tight schedule each month, realizing our goals in the process.
– How are the tasks divided?
– Transport, logistics, competition organization, communication, sales and many more. We have set up the organizational units according to the standards of multisport events. We finished creating the internal system quite early as the leaders have been working on this for two years and as a result, the mechanisms of the internal divisions are more and more organized. As we progress and get closer to the games, we need more and more colleagues. We received governmental support for the 15th European Maccabi Games, which was needed so that we can progress with the preparations in such a swift manner.
– What kind of feedback have you received? The deadline for sending back the first entry form expired on the 31st of March, so the organizers have a good understanding as to how many countries and athletes are expected to participate.
– The feedback we received from the Maccabi community were absolutely positive. They are looking forward to July of 2019 as Budapest – one of Europe’s gems – will be hosting the games. We think it is important to note that this might be the biggest multisport event hosted by Hungary, furthermore, Budapest will be the European Capital of Sport in 2019, so the event fits into this concept as well.
– What is the relationship like between the Jewish organizations?
– Basically, the starting point of this event is the European Maccabi Confederation, a regional organization that is responsible for evaluating the bids. We are in daily contact with their management and ask their opinion on some decisions. We have a direct line of communications with the Maccabi organizations of given countries. We received tremendous assistance as well, for instance with the „European Futsal Trophy”, which will be an important test event preceding the European Maccabi Games. According to our present knowledge, more than 100 athletes will participate in this cup in Balatonfüred, which is a great achievement more than a year before the games.
– To whom and what kind of message would the organizers like to send?
– It is an important message to the Jewish and non-Jewish communities and youth alike that they can be part of positive experiences with the help of sport. We are talking about a multisport event that has never been held before in our country. With the opening of the facilities at the Sports Park at Kerepesi Street one of our decade-long hopes will become a reality.
– A question that always comes up regarding the facilities after multisport events, Olympics, World and European Championships: how will they be used after the games?
– We have a well thought-out concept regarding this. We won the bid in 2015, the government made the decision regarding the developments and at the end of the process, MTK Budapest’s sporting club will use the facilities for youth development. The sporting centre will help usher in a golden age for the club which will rival the era of Alfréd Brüll and János Fekete. I believe that the sporting centre will be envied everywhere in the world, which will provide a great push for the sports sections of MTK and it will enable more people – children and adults alike – to join this club either as a professional or as a casual athlete.
– How is the construction coming along?
The procurement procedure has started at the developmental grounds. We are waiting for the selected entrepreneur to be able to sign a contract. We have done our part in terms of preparing the project: we have gathered the necessary data and passed on the relevant information. The procurement procedure will hopefully end in the next few weeks and we are confident that the National Sporting Centres will be inaugurated by the 31st of May, 2019 and we can take over the sporting centres that will be developed at Kerepesi Street and in place of Józsefváros Station.