Romanian side Steaua Bucharest had to play a league match on Sunday described only as ‘hosts’ after being stripped of their name.
The 1986 European champions have been sued by the Romanian army over their use of the Steaua name and an appeal court found on Wednesday in favour of the government department.
Steaua were formed as the Army Sports Association club in 1947 and were part of the nation’s Ministry of Defence. But following the Romanian revolution in 1989 the club and the army split although Steaua were allowed to keep the name.
However, following a takeover by businessman Gigi Becali in 2004, the army objected to the club’s continued use of the name and began a ten-year long lawsuit that culminated in a ruling earlier this week.
For last night’s league match with CSMS Iasi, the scoreboard at the club’s stadium showed ‘Hosts’ instead of the Steaua name. The club’s badge has also been reclaimed by the army and players had to put sticky tape over the crest while their traditional red and blue striped kit was replaced by a plain yellow strip. Even the pre-match team sheet had the club’s name removed, while the stadium announcer hailed them as ‘the Champions of Romania’.
Steaua supporters shouted ‘Come on hosts’ as the side played out a 1-0 victory which keeps them nine points clear at the top of the table.
Where things go from here is anybody’s guess. Becali could come to an agreement with the army over the name. But he is currently serving a prison term for abuse of power and any such agreement seems a long way off.
In the meantime, Steaua are ‘the team with no name’.
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