The State of Romanian Club Football

May 27, 2019

Written by:

Liga I

Founded: 1909

Most Championships: FCSB, 26

Last 5 Winners: CFR Cluj (18/19, 17/18), Viitorul (16/17), Astra (15/16), FCSB (14/15)

UEFA Ranking: 29th

Highest Ranked Club: FCSB, 66th


Interview with Romanian freelance journalist Emanuel Roşu

Since the EL was rebranded, only FCSB have made the last 16. How have the last years been viewed by the Romanian football fans in this regard? Do Romanian fans expect more from their club sides in Europe or do they realise it’s hard to compete?

Expectations are really high each year, because we tend to think too much of ourselves. It’s not supported in real life, unfortunately.

The lack of strategy and vision from our clubs is really at fault. Investors with big money have left football one by one, so clubs now depend on TV rights. They don’t do enough to help fund the clubs, so it results in lower budgets than a few years ago.

Fans dream big each season, but there’s no real cause for that, as football and recruitment is getting worse and worse. It’s hard to compete against the biggest sides, but we should be able to do it against those around us. If a few years back we used to be evenly matched and maybe win in most of the cases, now the situation is still similar in terms of strength, but now we’re losing more often. This means the hierarchies have changed even in Eastern European football.

What would be seen as a successful year in Europe for Romanian fans?

The big dream: Champions League group stage participation, but it’s harder and harder. Now probably Europa League group stage is a realistic objective.

Do most of the country get behind the Romanian sides playing in Europe or is there a lot of tribalism still apparent?

With FCSB still being well supported (almost 50% of the Romanian fans are with them), they tend to get big numbers in front of the TV when they play. And yes, people around the country aren’t that focused on hating an opponent so they tend to get behind the Romanian clubs.

Also, the disappearance of so many historical clubs meant that less important names have risen. So nobody actually hates those new clubs, like Astra, CFR or Viitorul. They tend to love more than to hate.

Is there any money in Romanian football at the moment?

If TV rights wouldn’t be as high as they are, we’d be doomed. Money for free – that’s what most of the clubs aim for and that’s what the TV rights are. A very small number of clubs are doing what they should in terms of following a ‘western approach’ to football.

How do you think the Europa League 2 will affect Romanian EL performances and what has been the reaction to the formation of the competition in Romania?

With less and less chances of actually competing in the UCL, I think the main focus and the real focus is on the Europa League. EL 2 could be a good opportunity for clubs of our level, I think it has the potential to get us excited and to probably help us grow more than watching TV and supporting others does.

What would you like to see UEFA do to level the playing field more for small European sides?

What I think… is really impossible nowadays. It has just been reversed. I wouldn’t allow 4 teams in the CL group stage from the big countries. I’d maybe put two or max, max 3 and let the others compete. For a club like FCSB, for example, playing Real Madrid, Atletico, Chelsea or Lyon would be massive. Even in a qualifying double and even if they lose. It would get the stadium full, it would get some money and a big name in Bucharest or Cluj, so it’s an experience you don’t get when you play Ludogorets (for example). And lose.

Interview with Romanian freelance journalist Emanuel Roşu

Find all your Champions League betting odds here

A Europa League infographic


Author: Tom Mortimer

Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.

Twitter @TMortimerFtbl


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