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Developing football in Romania

The FRF hopes that Romania's front-line role as a EURO 2020 host venue will boost its long-term plans to inspire a generation of new footballers to take up the game – regardless of ability, gender, ethnic background or location.

©AFP/Getty Images

Overview

Source: UEFA grassroots survey (2019)

The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) aims to increase the number of footballers across the nation to 300,000 – three times more than in 2014. Its tactics include:

  • Strengthening infrastructure at all levels of the game, from upgrading the national team’s training facilities in Bucharest to building 400 new pitches and mini-pitches in cities and remote rural communities.
  • Encouraging young girls and boys to play the game, regardless of their ability, background or location: the FRF has introduced school tournaments throughout the country to increase participation levels. The Village Cup, launched at Under-13 level in 2019, ensures these efforts stretch to even the remotest rural areas. Romanian children dreaming of a football future are inspired by the experience of goalkeeper Laurențiu Brănescu, who, within a few years of being scouted playing for his local village team, had signed for Juventus.
  • Raising national visibility of the game: prior to its selection as a EURO 2020 host venue, Romania had never staged a major international sporting event. To capitalise on the competition’s visibility, the FRF has selected national sporting heroes to act as its EURO 2020 ambassadors. Miodrag Belodedici, Gabriela Szabo and Dorinel Munteanu are using their status to help raise public awareness, both of the tournament and the opportunities to play football in Romania, regardless of age, gender, ability or background.

In addition to hosting three group matches and a round of 16 fixture at UEFA EURO 2020, Bucharest’s 54,000-capacity National Arena, renovated between 2007 and 2011, has staged one other high-profile UEFA competition final: the 2012 UEFA Europa League final. The stadium will also co-host the Under-21 EURO in 2023 with Georgia.

UEFA support

UEFA’s HatTrick assistance programme, which channels EURO funds into football development across Europe, has helped the FRF lay solid foundations for increasing participation in youth, men's and women's football by contributing to national football infrastructure projects.

HatTrick funding has supported the creation of new facilities at all levels of football – from the elite national training centre in Mogosaia on the outskirts of Bucharest to new pitches and mini-pitches for grassroots football.

In October 2019, UEFA allocated more HatTrick funding for the provision of additional artificial pitches that ensure Romania's clubs can play all year round. The country's harsh winters historically rule out using grass pitches for up to four months of the year.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Romania

Set up in 2015, the UEFA Foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Luncşoara Bihorului Association: Synthetic sports field

In partnership with the UEFA Foundation, Luncşoara Bihorului Association built a synthetic sport field in Western Romania in 2020. The field is utilised by local students for organised activities and provides a place for pupils and local young children to gather during their free time. Children play a range of sports on the new field including football, tennis and handball. Additionally, as the field is located in a remote, rural area, it encourages and assists the integration of the local community.

Timeline

Association history

1889–93: Pioneered by foreign nationals, particularly British and German expatriates, football makes its debut in Romania.
October 1904: Romania's first football club, Olimpia Sport Club, founded by German citizen Charles Viereck.
1909: Three teams form the Association of Athletic Societies of Romania (ASAR), forerunner of the national association.
February 1930: Romanian Football Association Federation (FRFA) established, paving the way for the national team’s participation in the first FIFA World Cup.
1931: FRFA admitted as a full FIFA member.
1932: National league started, with the Romanian Cup following in 1933/34 season.
1954: Romania is a founder member of UEFA, by proxy: Romanian delegates due to attend the inaugural congress in Basel did not receive Swiss visas, so they authorised Czechoslovakia to vote on their behalf.
July 1957: Federaţia Română de Fotbal (FRF or Romanian Football Federation) founded.
August 1990: FRFA stages its first elections as an independent organisation and selects Mircea Sandu as president, a position he subsequently held for the next 24 years until March 2014, when Răzvan Burleanu was elected for a first term.

Gheorghe Hagi was Romania's talisman during their most successful period in men's national team football
Gheorghe Hagi was Romania's talisman during their most successful period in men's national team football©AFP

Romania's men’s senior national team debuted in June 1922 against Yugoslavia in Belgrade, with the visitors triumphing 2-1 to lift the King Alexander Cup.

2011: Romania hosts UEFA European Under-19 Championship.
2012: Bucharest’s National Arena hosts UEFA Europa League final.
2021: National Arena stages three group matches and a round of 16 fixture at UEFA EURO 2020.
2023: Romania will co-host the Under-21 EURO with Georgia.

National team competitions

1983: Romania defeat reigning world champions Italy by a single goal in EURO 1984 qualifier.
1994: With playmaker Gheorghe Hagi pulling the strings, Romania reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in the United States – the national team’s best-ever performance.
2000: Romania reach quarter-finals of EURO 2000, before being eliminated by tournament runners-up Italy.
2007–2012–2014: Romania’s futsal team make three successive appearances at UEFA Futsal EURO final tournament.
2012: Romania women’s team plays in UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship final tournament.
2016: Senior women’s team makes first-ever appearance in a UEFA Women’s EURO play-off.
2019: Romania's men’s national Under-21 team qualifies for the European Under-21 Championship semi-finals – their first appearance in the finals for 21 years.
2021: Romania's Under-21 team due to compete in rescheduled Olympic Games football tournament in Japan for the first time in 56 years.

Răzvan Burleanu
Răzvan Burleanu©UEFA.com

President

Răzvan Burleanu

Nationality: Romanian
Date of birth: 1 July 1984
Association president since: 2014

Radu Visan
Radu Visan©FRF

General secretary

Radu Visan

Nationality: Romanian
Date of birth: 14 January 1981
Association general secretary since: 2015

Romanian Football Federation website