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Security Company Overstepped Authority by Taking Ukrainian Flag From Fans at Basketball Match

A minor diplomatic incident took place last Wednesday, August 24 at a basketball match in Szombathely between Hungary and Lithuania, where a Ukrainian flag was confiscated from one of the Lithuanian fans. But the organizers believe that the security company who took the flag was at fault.

In addition to their own national flag, Lithuanian fans at the match also wanted to unfurl a Ukrainian flag in the stands. A security guard approached the man holding the flag and told him to take it down, claiming that only Hungarian or Lithuanian flags were allowed at the event. The Ukrainian flag was later confiscated by security.

The National Association of Hungarian Basketball Players (MKOSZ) told that security guards had overstepped their authority and made a mistake during the World Cup qualifier match in the Aréna Savaria sports and event hall.

Responding to‘s inquiry, the association stated that employees of Hunbert Trade Kft., which provided security for the event, took it upon themselves to remove the flag. The basketball association did not give them any such instructions to do so, as neither the Hungarian nor International Basketball Federation (FIBA) restrict the flying of flags of other countries in the stands.

In its defense, the security company said that that its employees often take on organizing duties at Hungarian football matches, and the rules of the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) specifically prohibit flying the flags of other countries during a match. [HVG]

Posted in Domestic

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1 Comment

  1. Michael Detreköy

    Security at televised international football games in Hungary focuses on (officially) undesired political symbols and messages, in public spaces. A common example is confiscation of rainbow-colored banners and clothing, and it could be interesting to know if the event was covered by Russian TV.
    The described episode is reminiscent of the frequent, international accommodation of Chinese demands for sensoring the Tibetan flag at televised international sports events, shown in China. A demand which normally results in confiscation and in some cases, even relegation from the arena.

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