Ferencváros Stadium is set to host a landmark occasion for the women’s game in Hungary
There is a sculpture outside Ferencváros Stadium of an eagle, wings spread, in full flight. With its talons, it is clutching a football. Ferencvárosi TC are nicknamed the Green Eagles (Zöld Sasok), and their mascot could also come to represent the day that women’s football in Hungary really took off.
Until work on the new Ferenc Puskás Stadion is completed for UEFA EURO 2020, Ferencváros Stadium is Hungary’s largest ground, with a 22,000 capacity. And tonight’s final is likely to produce a record attendance for a women’s game in the country.
Budapest has already held UEFA Women’s Champions League games this season. MTK Hungária hosted their qualifying round group at the Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion in August and only lost out to eventual quarter-finalists Slavia Praha in their bid to become the first Hungarian team to reach the knockout phase. MTK have won seven of the past nine domestic titles, Ferencváros claiming the other two in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
In men’s football, Ferencváros have the upper hand thanks to their 29 championships, with local rivals MTK Budapest (23), Újpest (20) and Budapest Honvéd (14) their nearest challengers. A statue of the Green Eagles’ favourite son – 1967 European Footballer of the Year Flórián Albert – stands outside the ground, while his Ballon d’Or is proudly displayed in the Fradi Museum within the stadium itself.
If the museum celebrates the club’s glorious past, the stadium embodies its present and future. Opened in 2014 on the site of the old Stadion Albert Flórián, it has hosted international matches, club finals and title triumphs, though this is the first time a European trophy will be lifted here.
It is a moment to savour, but there is one hitch. Ferencváros’s greatest rivals Újpest play in purple – the colours of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Ferencváros fans might not be thrilled about seeing their ground decked out in their rivals’ colours. Yet it is a small price to pay on a historic night when women’s football in Hungary spreads its wings.