Remember this post of a couple of weeks ago about the strange case of Rapid Bucharest?
In brief, Rapid were relegated to the second division of Romanian football (Liga 2) at the end of last season after failing to meet the financial conditions placed on first division (Liga 1) teams. Concordia Chiajna took their place.
Then, however, the Romanian Football Federation (RFF; fearing that Liga 1 without Rapid – a well-supported club – would be less valuable for the television companies) decided to ignore their (and UEFAs) own rules and turn a blind eye to the fact that Rapid did not have their paperwork in order, and decided that Rapid and Chiajna would play-off for a place in Liga 1. Rapid won the play-off, 2-1.
Concordia then appealed to the Court of Arbritration in Sport (CAS) claiming that as they had a Liga 1 license and Rapid did not, it was simply not fair that they had not been allowed to take their place in the first division.
Boom! CAS today announced that they had upheld Concordia’s appeal, stating that the play-off ‘should not have been played on the grounds that S.C. F.C. Rapid S.A. did not have a license to participate in the Liga 1 for the season 2013/14.’
Rapid are to be relegated to the second division.
The full CAS decision (which is definitive: in sporting matters it outranks any other court in Europe; there is no appeal process open to Rapid) is here.
What happens now – given that two games of the new Liga 1 season have already been played – is anyone’s guess. We would assume that Rapid’s results (a 2-1 defeat at Vaslui and a 1-1 draw at home to Viitorul Voluntari) will be cancelled and the games replayed by Concordia. Quite what happens tomorrow night (Rapid would have played Bucharest rivals Steaua in the biggest game of the season so far, in front of a packed house at the Arena Nationala) is anyone’s guess.
What a mess, and one which is entirely of the Romanian Football Federation’s own making.