Concordia Chiajna returns to centre stage. Managers of Rapid want to sue FRF (Romanian Football Federation). Steaua-Rapid match was cancelled and Steaua-Chiajna match was postponed. Uncertain whether the team will participate in the second league
The decision made after Concordia Chiajna’s appeal was posted on the official website of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday. The Lausanne forum argued that the qualifying match played against Rapid for a future in League 1 should not have taken place and Rapid has every right to remain in League 1.
In light of the urgency of the appeal, the Sole Arbitrator appointed by CAS, Mr Marco Balmelli (Switzerland), has issued its decision without the grounds. The Sole Arbitrator found that S.C. F.C. Rapid S.A. did not have a license to participate in League 1, season 2013/14 and that the knockout game was organized without any regulatory basis. On the contrary, the regulations adopted by the RFF and its practice are in favour of C.S. Concordia Chiajna to remain in League 1. Accordingly, the appeal of C.S. Concordia Chiajna is upheld, meaning that it is eligible to compete in League 1 for the 2013/2014 season in lieu of S.C. F.C. Rapid S.A. The grounds for the Sole Arbitrator’s decision will be issued to the parties as soon as possible – reads the release on CAS official site.
The optimal number of teams in League 1 was a controversial issue this summer between FRF and LPF (Professional Football League). The Head of FRF, Mircea Sandu wanted League 1 to consist of 17 teams – the exact number of accredited teams at the moment – while LPF chairman, Dumitru Dragomir pleaded for an 18-team-system in order to avoid a decrease in the amount of money received by each club from selling TV rights.
On 6 July, the Executive Committee made the final decision according to which Rapid, the team that did not meet the financial criterion for attaining a license, and Concordia Chiajna, the demoted football team that was best situated in the ranking (15th place in the previous season) would play a qualifying match for a future in League 1.
Concordia filed a request to TAS (Court of Law of Arbitration for Sport) to revoke the decision on the qualifying match against Rapid, and contested that the team from Giulesti was entitled to play in League 1 since it is not accredited.
FC Rapid shareholder Nicolae Cristescu stated Friday at a press conference that FRF was guilty for Rapid’s demotion and emphasized that legal measures will be taken on Monday. “It’s one of the biggest disappointments of my life. We must do something; many sponsors have joined us and concluded contracts with us, but if the team is demoted they will not be able to stand by us. We will initiate the necessary legal proceedings on Monday. FRF and the Executive Committee are guilty”, Cristescu stated.
Rapid captain Daniel Pancu stated that TAS’s decision to demote his team to second league was fair because it allows for an “unstained history and tradition”.
Approximately 1.500 supporters gathered in Friday on the Giulesti-Valentin Stanescu stadium to chant in support of Rapid and were joined by 18 Rapid players, the team’s technical staff and by shareholder Nicolae Cristescu.
FRF announced that the CAS decision concerning the Concordia/Rapid qualifying match had arrived, but the only institution competent enough to “implement” the decision is LPF, after the FRF Emergency Committee orders the implementation. However, the matter is complicated and there is a lot of chaos both within FRF and the LPF. LPF Secretary General Valentin Alexandru stated Friday for MEDIAFAX that id the TAS decision is confirmed, the authorities at Lausanne must specify how FC Rapid will be replaced by Concordia Chiajna in League 1. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve been in the football business for ten years, but I’ve never seen anything so complicated. Do you realise what we’re doing? We are making Vaslui and Viitorul Constanta play one more match each! Of course they’re gonna be outraged that they have to play 36 matches in one season, which is not fair. If we keep Rapid’s current score, it’s also not fair”, Valentin Alexandru stated.
Speculations have surfaced in the meantime. Shortly after Rapid’s demotion the tabloids started a rumour that was adopted by the sports journalists as well, namely that the football club was sold again Thursday night, this time by Deputy Sebastian Ghita (owner of Romania TV). Financier of the basketball team of Ploiesti and a sports enthusiast, Ghita stated for Gandul that he has no connection whatsoever with Rapid and the respective transaction was never made: “Out of the question. I did not purchase Rapid.”