Tamas Marcz, the former head coach of the Hungarian men’s water polo team, has become one of the key figures in reformed Hungarian sports management. He is employed in the state sports administration, where he was given an important position.
Marcz coached Hungary between 2017 and July 2022. During these five years, he led the national team to many medals, including gold at the 2020 European Championships, silver at the 2017 World Championships, bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games… He was the Olympic champion as a player.
Marcz revealed he had a new job in an interview with the Hungarian water polo website Vlv.hu. The former national team coach explained his duties in a new position.
“At the end of December, the decree of the Hungarian Government was published, which defines the tasks of the National Sports Agency Nonprofit Private Limited Company. I received an honorable invitation from the State Secretariat for Sport, Mr. Adam Schmidt, and the Deputy CEO of the National Sports Agency, Mr. Balazs Baji, to assume a leading role here.
The work will take place within the organizational framework of two important directorates, one of which deals with academies and sports schools, prominent sports associations and university sports, headed by Sandor Safar. The other directorate deals with professional sports tasks, support management and methodological work in sports science, as well as controls, and I manage it.”
Marcz said that he had started the substantive work two weeks ago.
“Mainly, specific tasks related to supporting management are now on the table. All sports (Olympic and non-Olympic) are included in the “portfolio”. We try to provide assistance and work as partners with those involved. We cooperate closely with the public bodies responsible for all sports, the Hungarian Olympic Committee, the Paralympic Committee, the Hungarian Coaches Association, the University of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, the Sports Hospital (OSEI) and, of course, we are in constant contact with the state secretariat responsible for sports, as well as with the sports associations. The work aims to be as efficient and effective as possible in each sport.
Asked what the management of the board means and what processes must be coordinated and managed, Marcz answered:
“There are three departments on my board, and the tasks are naturally intertwined. Support management includes scholarships and grants for coaches and competitors. The previously fragmented system and the many separate programs are now united, such as the priority coaching and youth coaching programs or the method of sports scholarships. There are support elements that do not need to be touched much, but there will also be new initiatives, and some programs may be given a new guise in the future.
One team deals exclusively with the development of support forms, another develops the methodology, perfects the individual programs, and we have an inspection team whose task is to look back and check the implementation of the programs, the allocation of funds to the right place, and the efficiency of their use. We constantly monitor the implementation of professional programs, the fate of various sports plans, sports developments and aspirations.
What is important: our task is primarily to provide assistance, and this is not only financially related”
Some details of the new sports financing system in Hungary were recently announced. In this, the development of a kind of indicator system plays an important role in order to be able to check the utilization of the funds given for support. This area also belongs to the scope of the activities of the directorate headed by Marcz.
“Partly, yes, but the other directorate is also actively involved in this work, and the state secretariat is also constantly dealing with the area. There are places where the system of indicators already works well. For example in football, there are very good measurable and comparable control points. We are also trying to create these indicators necessary for measurement in other sports. We have ideas about the right direction, but all this will take place in such a way that we do not want to interfere in the concrete operation. As I said, establishing and operating the partnership relationship is the most important. In the framework of this, feedback is needed on the work taking place in sports.
How serious will this inspection be? Do individual sports associations have to take into account that if the work is not adequate, if there are no results, then the support will decrease?, Vlv.hu asked.
“Up until now, support has been emphasized, control has been given less space, and now the latter is also coming to the fore. There is no need to be afraid of the current changes. Those who work well will not experience any changes. Nevertheless, it is not a problem if everyone feels that the pressure to comply is increasing.
It is important that sports professionals work well, accurately and efficiently and that the results of this work are perceptible and even visually visible. The purpose of all changes is to improve the effectiveness of Hungarian competitive sports.
Marcz spoke about how much this change in professional work means to himself personally. Vlv.hu says it knows that Marcz likes to play tennis, he has a close family relationship with volleyball, and it won’t even mention water polo. How new will the other sports be to you? You will need a bit of “universal expertise”, how unusual is that?
“I don’t think there is a person who knows all sports, I’m not like that either, but I will try to get to know them all – including how they work. A serious team will be created in the three departments, they must be managed first and foremost”.
Marcz’ revealed some details about the composition of the team. He said they were thinking about 20 – 25 people. The team is now being formed and the number of staff can be increased by continuously taking on tasks. The team is a good mix of professionals who perform administrative work at a professional level and who know the details of the operation of sports, he said.
Do we understand correctly that you will be the most important “authority” in matters of subsidies from now on, someone who will put the proposal on the table of the Secretary of State for Sports…?, was Vlv’s next question
“The final decisions will still be in the hands of the State Secretariat, they will determine the main direction, but I hope that I will be able to provide more good suggestions in the coming period, helping the development of Hungarian sports. Of course, I will not participate in the processes alone, but we will work together in a large team.”
Obviously, Marcz trusts that this whole new system will help a lot in the world of sports in terms of daily operations and the ultimate goal, effectiveness…
“I really like this new management structure, it is an extremely well-thought-out system, and I am happy that I have a significant role in it. I also thank you for thinking of me. The Sports State Secretariat entrusted me with this task. Returning to your question: yes, I expect that we will make great progress in the operation of the domestic sports system. The coordination of programs for young people, the creation of the benefits of building on each other, and the management and operation of the programs, on the one hand, make it possible to follow the specific “consequences” of the subsidies much better, even by monitoring the life path of an individual athlete but also to make the coaching activity more efficient.
The most important goal set by the Sports State Secretariat with the reorganization is to be efficient, transparent, and more effective. In my opinion, this is a very good direction.”
Vlv.hu asked if Marcz’s job was a kind of state administration work.
“Yes, but it really requires being present in practice and establishing many personal relationships with the leading representatives of the sports so that we can see and understand their aspirations and get an idea of their work. This is also necessary in order to be able to serve their needs. So my task will not be only work in an office. I want to note that the first “external forum” I attended in my new position was a big recruitment conference of the Hungarian Water Polo Federation held last week”
At the end of the interview, the former Hungary head coach answered whether there was a chance that he would return to the pool and the coaching job in the future.
“I’m not thinking about that at the moment. I have always believed that I should do my current job as best as possible. That’s what I’m focusing on now. I see the task as a serious challenge, and I am happy that I can actively participate in the Hungarian sports reform processes. Anyway, I don’t break away from water polo, I am still constantly monitoring the developments in the sport, watching the matches. And only partly as a “job duty”, since I am still very interested because I love this sport. I don’t know if I’ll return one day, but that’s not what concerns me at the moment, I’m concentrating on my new task”, Marrz underlined at the end of the interview with Vlv.hu.