A Guide to Football in Romania

Football is the most popular sport in Romania, with a rich history dating back to the pre-war period. The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) is the sport’s national governing body and a member of UEFA. The FRF has been working diligently to develop football in Romania, with a particular focus on inspiring a new generation of young footballers to take up the game.

Romania has a proud footballing tradition, with some of the greatest players the country has ever produced, such as Gheorghe Hagi, Ilie Balaci, Adrian Ilie, Adrian Mutu, and Cristian Chivu. The FRF has been working to build on this tradition and develop the next generation of Romanian footballing talent. The FRF’s wide-ranging strategy at all levels of the game aims to promote football not only as a sport but also as a way of life, preparing youth players for their future lives beyond the pitch.

With Romania set to play a front-line role as a EURO 2020 host venue, the FRF hopes that this will boost its long-term plans to develop football in the country and inspire more young people to take up the game. This guide to football in Romania will provide an overview of the sport’s history in the country, the current state of the game, and what the future holds for Romanian football.

History of Football in Romania

Early Years

Football in Romania has a long and rich history, dating back to 1899 when the first football match on the current territory of Romania was organised in Timișoara. The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) was established in October 1909 in Bucharest, and Romania played their first international match on 8 June 1922, a 2-1 win over Yugoslavia in Belgrade, being coached by Teofil Moraru.

Golden Era

Romania experienced a “Golden Era” of football in the 1990s, following the fall of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The country created a strong national team, which qualified for three consecutive World Cups from 1990 to 1998. The team achieved its best performance in the 1994 World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals. During this period, Romanian clubs also achieved success in European competitions, with Steaua Bucharest winning the European Cup in 1986 and reaching the final again in 1989.

Recent Developments

In recent years, Romanian football has faced some challenges, including financial difficulties and corruption scandals. However, the FRF has taken steps to improve the situation, including implementing stricter financial regulations and investing in youth development. Romanian clubs have also shown promise in European competitions, with FCSB (formerly Steaua Bucharest) reaching the Europa League Round of 32 in the 2019-2020 season.

Overall, football remains the most popular sport in Romania, and the FRF is a member of UEFA, the sport’s European governing body. The Association of Athletic Societies of Romania, which later became the Association of Football Clubs, was the first governing body for the activity of football players in Romania, with headquarters in Bucharest and Mario Gebauer as president.

Romanian Football Federation (FRF)

The Romanian Football Federation (FRF), also known as Federația Română de Fotbal, is the governing body of football in Romania. It was founded in 1909 and is headquartered in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. The FRF is responsible for organising and overseeing all football-related activities in the country, including national and international competitions.

Organisation and Structure

The FRF is divided into several departments, each responsible for a specific area of football administration. These departments include:

  • Comitet Executiv (Executive Committee)
  • Comisii (Commissions)
  • Organigrama (Organigram)
  • Școala de Antrenori (Coaching School)

The Executive Committee is the highest decision-making body of the FRF, responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organisation. The Commissions are responsible for specific areas of administration, such as Referees, Women’s Football, and Youth Football. The Organigram is a chart that outlines the structure of the FRF, including the roles and responsibilities of each department. The Coaching School is responsible for training and certifying coaches at various levels.

Key Figures

The FRF is led by President Răzvan Burleanu, who was elected in 2014. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organisation and representing the FRF at national and international events. Other key figures in the FRF include:

  • Vice-Presidents: Gino Iorgulescu, Octavian Goga, and Andrei Vochin
  • General Secretary: Justin Ştefan
  • Treasurer: Mircea Sandu

Together, these individuals are responsible for ensuring that the FRF operates effectively and efficiently, and that the interests of Romanian football are represented at all levels of the sport.

In conclusion, the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) is the governing body of football in Romania, responsible for organising and overseeing all football-related activities in the country. The FRF is divided into several departments, each responsible for a specific area of football administration, and is led by President Răzvan Burleanu.

Romanian Football Clubs

Football is the most popular sport in Romania, and there are many football clubs throughout the country. In this section, we will discuss the top clubs and regional clubs in Romania.

Top Clubs

The top football clubs in Romania are Steaua Bucharest, Dinamo Bucharest, UTA Arad, CFR Cluj, and Juventus Bucharest. Steaua Bucharest holds the most domestic titles with 23, followed by Dinamo with 18. From the 1950s until the mid-2000s, the two capital teams dominated domestic football. Steaua Bucharest is also the most successful Romanian club in international level, having been Champions League winners in 1986 and European Super Cup holders the same year.

CFR Cluj is another successful club, having won the Romanian Liga I title six times, as well as reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League in the 2019-2020 season. UTA Arad is a historic club, having won the Romanian Liga I five times in the 1940s and 1950s. Juventus Bucharest is a newer club, founded in 2014, but has quickly risen to become a top club in Romania, finishing second in the Romanian Liga I in the 2019-2020 season.

Regional Clubs

Apart from the top clubs in Romania, there are also many regional clubs that play in the lower leagues. These clubs have a strong local following and provide a platform for young players to develop their skills. Some notable regional clubs include FC Argeș Pitești, FC Botoșani, Chindia Târgoviște, and FC Hermannstadt.

FC Argeș Pitești is a club from the Argeș County, which has won the Romanian Liga I title once and has a strong rivalry with FC Petrolul Ploiești. FC Botoșani is a club from the Botoșani County, which has been playing in the Romanian Liga I since 2013. Chindia Târgoviște is a club from the Dâmbovița County, which has been playing in the Romanian Liga I since 2019. FC Hermannstadt is a club from the Sibiu County, which has been playing in the Romanian Liga I since 2018 and has a strong following in the region.

In conclusion, Romanian football has a rich history and many clubs that have contributed to the country’s football culture. From the top clubs in Bucharest to the regional clubs throughout the country, there is a strong passion for football in Romania.

Romanian National Team

Men’s Team

The Romanian National Football Team, also known as Tricolorii (The Tricolours), represents Romania in men’s football. The team is controlled by the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) and has been a member of FIFA since 1923 and UEFA since 1955. The team has a rich history, having played in eight World Cups and five European Championships. Their best performance in the World Cup was in 1994 when they reached the quarter-finals.

In recent years, the men’s team has struggled to qualify for major tournaments, failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2020. However, they are currently competing in the UEFA Nations League 2023.

Women’s Team

The Romanian Women’s National Football Team represents Romania in women’s football and is controlled by the FRF. The team has been a member of FIFA since 1990 and UEFA since 1991. They have never qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup or the UEFA European Championship.

Youth Teams

Romania has various youth teams for both boys and girls, including the under-21, under-19, and under-17 teams. The under-21 team has had some success, reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 1998 and 2019.

The under-19 team has also had some success, winning the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 1962 and finishing as runners-up in 1964 and 1978.

The under-17 team has qualified for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship nine times, with their best performance being a semi-final appearance in 2011.

In addition to these teams, Romania also has a futsal team that competes in international tournaments.

Overall, the Romanian National Football Team has a rich history and continues to strive for success in men’s, women’s, and youth football.

Prominent Romanian Footballers

Romania has produced many talented footballers who have made a name for themselves both domestically and internationally. Here are some of the most prominent Romanian footballers:

Gheorghe Hagi

Gheorghe Hagi is widely regarded as the greatest Romanian footballer of all time. An attacking midfielder, he played for teams such as Real Madrid, Brescia, and Barcelona. He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year a record seven times and was nominated six times for the Ballon d’Or. Hagi also played for the Romanian national team, earning 125 caps and scoring 35 goals.

Dorinel Munteanu

Dorinel Munteanu is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a midfielder. He is the most capped Romanian player of all time, with 134 appearances for the national team. Munteanu played for several clubs in Romania and Germany, including FC Koln and Wolfsburg. He also coached several Romanian teams after retiring from playing.

Laurențiu Brănescu

Laurențiu Brănescu is a Romanian goalkeeper who currently plays for Scottish club Kilmarnock. He has also represented the Romanian national team at various youth levels. Brănescu has played for several Romanian clubs, including Steaua Bucharest and Dinamo Bucharest.

Miodrag Belodedici

Miodrag Belodedici is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a defender. He is best known for his time at Steaua Bucharest, where he won the European Cup in 1986. Belodedici also played for several other clubs in Europe, including Red Star Belgrade and Valencia. He earned 54 caps for the Romanian national team.

Adrian Mutu

Adrian Mutu is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a striker. He played for several clubs in Europe, including Chelsea and Juventus. Mutu also represented the Romanian national team, earning 77 caps and scoring 35 goals. He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year four times.

Ilie Balaci

Ilie Balaci was a Romanian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He spent most of his career at Universitatea Craiova, where he won several domestic titles. Balaci also played for the Romanian national team, earning 65 caps and scoring 8 goals. After retiring from playing, he became a coach and worked for several Romanian clubs.

Adrian Ilie

Adrian Ilie is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a forward. He played for several clubs in Europe, including Valencia and Galatasaray. Ilie also represented the Romanian national team, earning 55 caps and scoring 13 goals. He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year twice.

Cristian Chivu

Cristian Chivu is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a defender. He played for several clubs in Europe, including Ajax, Roma, and Inter Milan. Chivu also represented the Romanian national team, earning 75 caps and scoring 3 goals. He won several domestic and international titles during his career.

Gheorghe Popescu

Gheorghe Popescu is a retired Romanian footballer who played as a defender. He played for several clubs in Europe, including Barcelona and Galatasaray. Popescu also represented the Romanian national team, earning 115 caps and scoring 16 goals. He won several domestic and international titles during his career.

These are just a few of the many talented Romanian footballers who have made their mark on the sport. Their achievements on the pitch have helped put Romania on the map in the footballing world.

Romanian Football Infrastructure

Stadiums

Romania has a large number of football stadiums, with varying capacities. The Arena Națională, located in Bucharest, is the largest stadium in Romania with a capacity of 55,634 seats. It is the home stadium of the Romanian national football team and is also used for major events such as concerts.

Other notable stadiums include the Steaua Stadium, with a capacity of 31,254 seats, and the Cluj Arena, with a capacity of 30,201 seats. These stadiums are also used for various football matches and events.

Training Facilities

In addition to stadiums, Romania also has several training facilities for football teams. The National Football Centre, located in Mogosoaia, is the main training facility for the Romanian national football team. It includes several football pitches, a gym, and other facilities for training and recovery.

There are also several other training facilities located throughout the country, including the Ghencea Training Centre and the Nicolae Dobrin Training Centre. These facilities are used by various football clubs and teams for training and development.

Pitches

In addition to stadiums and training facilities, Romania also has a large number of football pitches. These include both natural grass pitches and artificial pitches. The minimum required capacity for a football pitch in Romania is 4,000.

There are also several mini-pitches located throughout the country, which are used for recreational football and training. These mini-pitches are typically smaller in size and have a capacity of less than 1,000.

Infrastructure

In recent years, Romania has made significant investments in football infrastructure. This includes the construction and renovation of stadiums, training facilities, and football pitches throughout the country.

One notable example is the National Arena, which was built in 2011 and is located in Bucharest. The stadium has a capacity of 55,634 seats and is used for various football matches and events.

There has also been a significant investment in artificial pitches, which are used for training and recreational football. These pitches are typically easier to maintain and can be used year-round, regardless of weather conditions.

Overall, Romania has a strong football infrastructure, with a variety of stadiums, training facilities, and pitches located throughout the country.

Football Development and Education in Romania

Grassroots Football

The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) has been working hard to develop football at the grassroots level. The FRF has implemented various programs to encourage young girls and boys to take up the sport. These programs include the Village Cup, which is a tournament for young players in rural areas. The FRF also supports school tournaments, which provide young players with the opportunity to showcase their skills.

School Tournaments

School tournaments are an essential part of the FRF’s football development strategy. The FRF believes that school tournaments provide young players with the opportunity to participate in competitive football and help them develop their skills. The FRF also believes that school tournaments can help identify talented players who can go on to represent Romania at the international level.

Coaching Education

The FRF is committed to providing high-quality coaching education to its coaches. The FRF offers various coaching education modules that cover different aspects of coaching, such as fitness coaches and team managers. The FRF believes that providing high-quality coaching education is essential to developing football in Romania.

In conclusion, the FRF is committed to developing football in Romania at the grassroots level. The FRF’s focus on education, youth, and school tournaments has helped identify and develop talented players who can represent Romania at the international level. The FRF’s commitment to coaching education has also helped improve the quality of coaching in Romania.

Romania in International Football

UEFA Competitions

Romania has a long history in UEFA competitions, having participated in various tournaments such as the UEFA European Championship, UEFA Europa League, and the UEFA Nations League. The national team has had some success in these competitions, with their best performance coming in the UEFA European Championship in 2000, where they reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Italy.

In the UEFA Europa League, Romanian clubs have also had some success, with Steaua București winning the competition in the 1985-86 season. In addition, they have reached the final of the competition on two other occasions, in the 1988-89 and 2012-13 seasons.

FIFA World Cup

Romania has participated in the FIFA World Cup on seven occasions, with their best performance coming in the 1994 tournament where they reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated by Sweden. They have also reached the round of 16 on three other occasions.

In the 1970 World Cup, Romania defeated Brazil, who were the defending champions at the time, in a shock victory. They also defeated England in the group stage of the 1982 tournament.

Relevant Entities

Romania has faced a number of top teams in international football, including Belgium, France, Uruguay, and Czechoslovakia. They have also faced West Germany and Algeria in the FIFA World Cup.

UEFA.com is the official website of UEFA and provides news, statistics, and information on various UEFA competitions. In addition, the UEFA Nations League is a relatively new competition that was introduced in 2018, aimed at replacing international friendlies with more competitive matches. Romania has participated in this competition, with their best performance coming in the 2018-19 season where they finished top of their group.

Romanian Football Leagues

In Romania, the football league system is hierarchical, with several football leagues bound together by promotion and relegation. The system consists of three national leagues and various county leagues.

Liga I

Liga I, also known as SuperLiga României, is the highest level of the Romanian football league system. It consists of 18 teams that compete in a double-round robin system, with each team playing each other twice, once at home and once away. The season usually runs from July to May.

At the end of the season, the team with the most points is crowned the champion and qualifies for the UEFA Champions League. The second and third-placed teams qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League, while the fourth-placed team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League.

Liga II

Liga II, also known as Liga 2, is the second level of the Romanian football league system. It consists of two series of 16 teams each, with the winners of each series being promoted to Liga I. The teams that finish in the bottom two places of each series are relegated to Liga III.

Liga III

Liga III, also known as Liga 3, is the third level of the Romanian football league system. It consists of six series of 16 teams each, with the winners of each series being promoted to Liga II. The teams that finish in the bottom two places of each series are relegated to the county leagues.

In conclusion, the Romanian football league system is well-structured and provides a clear pathway for teams to progress and achieve success. With Liga I being the highest level of football in Romania, it is the most competitive and attracts the best players in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top Romanian football teams?

The top Romanian football teams include Steaua Bucharest, Dinamo Bucharest, CFR Cluj, and FC Viitorul. These teams have a strong history of success in the Romanian football league and have also competed in international competitions.

Who are some of the players on the Romanian national football team?

Some of the players on the Romanian national football team include Razvan Marin, Florin Andone, and Nicolae Stanciu. These players have demonstrated their skills in both domestic and international competitions.

What is the current standing of the Romanian national football team?

As of July 2023, the Romanian national football team is ranked 35th in the FIFA World Rankings. The team has had mixed results in recent years, but there is optimism for the future with the development of young talent.

How does the Romanian football league work?

The Romanian football league, also known as Liga I, consists of 16 teams. Each team plays every other team twice, once at home and once away. The team with the most points at the end of the season is crowned the champion.

Has Romania ever won a major football tournament?

The Romanian national football team has never won a major football tournament, but they have had some notable successes. They reached the quarter-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the quarter-finals of the 2000 UEFA European Championship.

Will Romania participate in the next World Cup?

The next FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in 2026. It is not yet known if Romania will qualify for the tournament, but the team will be working hard to do so.


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