New York Times: Two Steaua Bucharests

Gigi Becali

Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali in his Bucharest palace ©James Montague

There is arguably no more controversial owner in world football than Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali. It would be hard to list all of the Romanian businessman’s infractions.

He has been in jail for corruption, has run for president, derided women and gay people and has left behind a long trail of enemies. But his biggest battle may be in front of him.

Becali has funded Steaua for the best part of the last decade. It was once the army’s team and a few years ago the army made a play to seize the club back from Becali. What has followed is a tug of war over who owns Steaua, its name and its history.

Now there are two Steauas, one which the army owns and will play in Romania’s 4th Division. And Becali’s Steaua, who have changed their name to FC FCSB.

I went to Bucharest for the New York Times and sat down with Becali and met the army general who believes he is now in charge of the true Steaua Bucharest. You can read the feature here…

You can hear more of that interview on the BBC World Service’s World Football show, here…

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