As of this summer the football League 1 will have 16 teams, 2 more than in previous seasons.
An emergency committee of the Romanian Football Federation decided on Thursday, after online consultations with the members of the Executive Committee, to increase the number of teams playing in League I from 14 to 16, starting the 2020-2021 season. Consequently, no team will be demoted this summer.
The decision rescues the Bucharest club Dinamo, ranked one but last at the end of this year’s championship matches. The team was in this situation because COVID-19 cases among its players prevented them from playing as many as 5 games, and the championship was suspended on August 6 with all teams preserving their places in the standings, irrespective of the number of matches played.
The team in last place, Chindia Târgoviște, will face the third-ranking team in League II, CS Mioveni, in a playoff. The top 2 teams in League II, UTA Arad and Campionii FC Argeș, will move up into League I. The president of the Romanian Football Federation, Răzvan Burleanu, explains the new decision:
Răzvan Burleanu: “What this means, first of all, is that no team will be relegated from League I. there will be no direct relegation. Also, given that the League II teams completed their competition, they have the right to move up, and this right will be protected, with 2.5 teams from League II moving into the top league. In other words, the team ranking 3rd will have to compete for promotion. There will be a playoff round for the place in League I, pitting Chindia Târgoviște, placed last in League I, against CS Mioveni, ranked 3rd in League II. The playoff will have 2 legs, on August 9 and 12.”
Burleanu also said the elements taken into account for the 16-team competition system include television ratings, the number of viewers, infrastructure, financial stability and the predictability of match scores. “We think this system is more attractive and will help us increase the revenues of League I clubs. This system also addresses a number of flaws of the 14-team system, such as the difference between the number of playoff and playout matches. Also, we have to admit that in the old format there were matches with no actual stake, and this is going to change now,” Burleanu added.
On the other hand, at the end of the 2020-2021 season the new system will allow a playout team to compete against a playoff team for qualification in the European football cups.
The new football season may start on August 22. The president of the Romanian Football Federation Răzvan Burleanu warned that the new season will come with financial difficulties, and said the Federation urges clubs to be cautious and to safeguard their financial stability. He added that he would like football fans to be back on stadiums as soon as possible, but that this will only be permitted after all health risks have been addressed. Romania’s football champion this year is CFR Cluj, while the Romanian Football Cup went to FCSB from Bucharest.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)