By Mihai George
Steaua’s game against CSKA Sofia on Thursday is not heralded as auspicious. Although Steaua managed to win the first leg in Bulgaria, score 2-0, it played modestly in League I, being defeated by Astra Ploiesti. The defeat sparked a series of internal tensions.
‘Pro Sport’ daily wrote on Monday that Steaua general manager Mihai Stoica will no longer sit on the team’s bench and will no longer attend the team’s training sessions. The measure was allegedly taken at the request of head coach Rony Levi, the latter stating that Stoica’s presence at the training sessions is discomforting.
Steaua financier Gigi Becali however dismissed the information, claiming that he will give Stoica greater “powers” within the club. “I will give Mihai Stoica greater powers; of course he will stay on the bench. What ‘Pro Sport’ wrote are all lies. Rony Levi never complained that Mihai Stoica steps on his toes,” Gigi Becali stated for Realitatea TV.
Stoica dismissed the information too: “Somebody is interested in preventing things from running smoothly ahead of this very important game in Sofia,” Stoica said.
The atmosphere ahead of Thursday’s game is even tenser after Csaba Asztalos, President of the National Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD), sent a letter to UEFA President Michel Platini, informing him about the discriminatory statements made by CSKA Sofia owner Dimitar Borisov. CNCD accuses Borisov of discrimination after the club official’s statements were published by the Bulgarian media.
“CNCD has taken act, with concern, of the racist statements made by Mr. Dimitar Borisov, President of CSKA Sofia, about the ethnicity of several Steaua Bucharest players. (…) I believe UEFA will take the necessary measures in order to prevent and fight against discrimination in sports and I would be grateful if you could keep me informed on this subject,” the CNCD letter remitted on Monday to Mediafax reads.
On Saturday CSKA Sofia owner Dimitar Borisov made a series of offensive statements about several Steaua players, the statements being published by ‘Sportal.’ “My company handles garbage, now I answer to pieces of garbage. I’ll tell them that work is not humiliating. I’ve read that the Romanians call two of their swarthy players “stars.” If that is the case I’ll offer the two a transfer to Bulgaria; not in order for them to play for CSKA, because they have no place here, but to work for my company, the ‘Titan’ company. I’m sure they’ll fit in fast. Our workers are good guys and will accept them. Who am I talking about? I’m talking about Becali’s favourite, the swarthy right-wing player (Banel Nicolita – editor’s note), and a fullback (Portugal’s Geraldo – editor’s note). No, Borisov said in an interview quoted by realitatea.net.