Steaua Bucharest under fire after court rules its name belongs to the army

Gigi Becali

December 23 – One of European football’s famous names could disappear entirely from the professional game after Romania’s defence ministry won a court case against Steaua Bucharest on Thursday.

The 1986 European Cup winners – and Romania’s most successful club with 26 league titles – have been illegally using the name which rightfully belongs to an army side, the court ruled.

Steaua, under flamboyant owner Gici Becali (pictured), separated from the state sports club, CSA Steaua Bucharest, in 1998.

The ministry called the court ruling “well-deserved” and said in a statement it would sue Becali’s Steaua for €40 million for using the brand illegally for more than a decade.

Becali said he intended to appeal to the Supreme Court and said if the ruling was upheld and the club made to pay, Steaua would become bankrupt and consequently face demotion to the amateur fourth division – where the “legitimate” Steaua will play next season.

However, Becali said he was considering changing the name to FC Sports Becali.

“The fans will follow me,” he said. “They will say there was a huge injustice and will follow me.”

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