The latest from Romanian sports.
Sunday, May 20, will see the last round of the Romanian First Football League. This round will also decide who the champions will be. Ahead of the last fixture of the main group phase, CFR Cluj is top of the tables with a 1-point lead over runner-up FCSB. In the last game the team from Cluj will play Viitorul Constanta at home. In turn, FCSB will be playing Astra Giurgiu on National Arena stadium in Bucharest. A win on Sunday will earn CFR its fourth championship trophy. If it draws or loses and FCSB wins against Astra, the team from Bucharest will win its 27th first league title.
Let us note that the first edition took place between 1909 and 1910 and brought together football clubs from the territory of Romania which didn’t include Transylvania, Banat, northern Bukovina and Bessarabia at the time. That year the trophy went to Bucharest side Olympia. After the union of all Romanian territories the competition enlarged to include other teams from the new territories.
Before the start of WWll the competition had been dominated by Chinezul and Ripensia, two football clubs based in Timisoara, western Romania and by Venus from Bucharest. Between 1921 and 1927, Chinezul reaped six editions of the championship in a row, a record which hasn’t been broken yet. With the 1932-1933 edition the championship was split in several leagues according to the teams’ value.
After WWll, the main teams vying for the title were Bucharest sides Steaua, former CCA and Dinamo. Steaua claimed the trophy 23 times, while Dinamo won 18 titles. UTA Arad is the team outside Bucharest with the largest number of wins in the domestic championship winning between 1946 and 1970 as many as 6 editions of the championship. Universitatea Craiova, former Stiinta claimed 4 victories in the championship. Craiova was also the first team to obtain the best great result of the Romanian football in the 1980s, namely their qualification in the UEFA’s semifinals.
Teams from Bucharest dominated the national championships for many years. In the past decades of the last century Steaua won six consecutive editions of this competition equaling the record set by Chinezul Timisoara back in the ‘20s.
But teams from outside Bucharest have come back with a vengeance in recent years. From 2007 to 2012, not a single team from Bucharest managed to win the trophy. Steaua Bucharest then claimed the title for the next three years. In 2016 the trophy went to Astra Giurgiu, while last year Viitorul Constanta won the championship.