After 109 years as a club, the Egri Vizilabda Klub, a water polo club based in Eger, Hungary has announced itself as insolvent and terminated the contracts of all of its professional players. The news comes on the same day as the Hungarian league announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.
The latest sign of the financial squeeze placed upon professional sports by the global coronavirus crisis, Egri VK is one of the most successful clubs in water-polo-crazed Hungary over the last decade. The club won Hungarian national league titles in 2011, 2013, and 2014 and have been runners-up 6 times since 2008. They also won the National Cup of Hungary in 2015.
Among the club’s current roster is at least one player on the Hungarian Men’s National Team: Norbert Hosnyanszky.
In an interview with Hungarian media, Zoltan Szecsi did not say whether this was the end of the professional club, but did say that they have turned their attention to the club’s youth ranks, where more than 300 young players are spread across 13 youth teams.
“The most important thing is that we turn this great value, which was very neglected in the second half of the 2010s, into a value again, as our system is currently inferior. We have holes of all ages, and very few players come out of the youth groups to grow old for the pro team. First and foremost, we want to change that now.
The club was founded in 1910, making it 109 years old.
Hungary’s top-flight water polo league has been around since 1904. Eger is the 2nd-oldest club in that top-flight league behind Ferencvaros in Budapest, which was founded in 1899.
The Hungarian league cancelled the remainder of its season on Monday, and says that it hopes to restart with the Hungarian Cup in the summer, and hopes to participate in European Cups in 2020 still.
Hungarian Clubs have 8 titles in the 57-year history of the LEN Champions League, which is a continental competition for the best teams in Europe. That is third-most behind Italy and Yugoslavia.