Eastern European giants Steaua Bucharest are embroiled in a bitter dispute that shows little sign of easing. If anything, the temperature is on the rise.
Steaua were European Cup winners in 1986. Founded in 1947 as an army club in the early days of Romania’s communist regime, for decades their fierce competition with Dinamo Bucharest dominated the country’s football scene.
Now they have a bigger rivalry - one that sprung from within.
Today there are two teams that both lay claim to Steaua’s European Cup final victory over Barcelona, their 21 league titles and record 20 Romanian Cup triumphs between 1947 and 2003.
That has been the case since 2017, a key year in this dramatic story. That season, a team playing in the top flight as Steaua Bucharest was finally compelled by legal action to abandon the name. They became FCSB, and were forced to give up their claim on Steaua’s sparkling past. They still dispute the ruling.
In that same year, a Steaua Bucharest claiming authentic continuity with the great old club founded 75 years ago began a new life in Romania’s fourth division.