On Sunday, 9 February 2014 at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, the Ferenc Puskás – Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy was presented for the 7th time to the Robert Burns International Foundation’s Sponsor of the Year. Despite retiring in May 2013 from his post as manager, Sir Alex Ferguson has continued his role as Honorary President of the RBIF, and in recognition of the ongoing support provided every year by the Corinthia Hotel, this year he presented the trophy to Thomas Fischer, General Manager of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
The delegation from the Foundation were honoured to be accompanied by Mrs Erzsébet Puskás, wife of the late Ferenc Puskás, arguably Hungary’s most famous and most skilled footballer, whose name adorns the RBIF’s sponsor of the year trophy.
The match was played was against Fulham and despite a confident start the home team found themselves a goal down at half-time. Not renowned for giving up, Manchester United turned the match around in the space of 2 minutes, and found themselves leading 2-1 with 15 minutes to go. Yet the visitors were not for giving up either, and scored in the second-last minute of injury time, thus bringing to an end the RBIF’s track record of always having seeing the home team win. There’s always next year!
Interview with Thomas Fischer, General Manager of Corinthia Hotel, Budapest
Thomas, as a lifelong Bayern Munich fan, what were your impressions of your visit to Old Trafford, meeting Sir Alex and the whole match day experience?
First of all I have to say, to re-live the 1999 Champions League final that you prepared for me was an “interesting” experience. Apart from that I was greatly impressed by Sir Alex and enjoyed my time at Old Trafford tremendously. Thank you for all the great effort you put in to make it happen!
The Corinthia Hotel has been a staunch supporter of the Robert Burns International Foundation for many years, and 2014 saw the 17th Annual Budapest Burns Supper in the magnificent Grand Ballroom of your hotel. How important do you find the hotel’s association with the Foundation?
We have been actively supporting the foundation now for many years as we believe in mutually rewarding long-term commitment and loyalty towards our partners. Having seen the foundation and the interest in the Supper itself grow so much over the years, it makes us feel proud and gives us reassurance to having stood by the right partner over this period of time.
Having lived in Hungary for two years now, what is your opinion of the work of the RBIF in Hungary, and how do you see fundraising here compared with Germany for example?
The foundation gives back a little of what life has taken out, however I feel the work of the foundation here is to be valued even higher than in more developed countries in Europe, Germany for instance.
If you were to recommend the Robert Burns International Foundation to Hungarian and multinational businesses in Hungary as a vehicle for their Corporate Social Responsibility activities, which aspects of the RBIF’s operations would you highlight?