Rapid - Poli 0-3 after extra debate

This is something that's been brewing ever since the match, lost 0-1 by Poli on the pitch. However, Rapid had used two players - Varga and Bălan - that had just been acquired in a last minute dubious transfer.

The story is like this. The two players are owned by Șiman, owner of Sportul Studențesc in the second league. Waiting for a booming offer, perhaps from a European club, he had delayed selling them for the past 2 years or so. Instead, he waited until the last moment, and finally loaned them to some club or the other for half a season at a time. That is how Unirea Urziceni won last year's championship, borrowing the two for the second part of the season. Then, for the first half of this season, Șiman, for lack of a better option, lent them again to Urziceni, barely before their Champions League stint.

During the break, the players were allowed to train with Urziceni, while Șiman awaited a good offer. The championship had already started, 2 stages had been played, and the transfer period was already over. At least for the first league that is. Determined to acquire the players, Rapid's owner Copos, perhaps more wicked in his ways than Șiman, had struck a deal with him.

So, in order to complete the transfer they looked for a hole in the rules and indeed they found one. For the lower leagues, the transfer period had not ended yet. So, Rapid created another team - Rapid 3 - as they already had a Rapid 2, which they registered to play in Romania's fourth League. Now, since this was still mid-season, you might think that this would be impossible or absurd. But, the administration of the league - AMFB (the meaning of the acronym is not important), decided that since a team had withdrawn from the competition, it was OK to include Rapid 3 in its place, and play semi-official games (whatever that means - I have no idea).

Of course, Rapid had no intention for this team to play any games. It was created just so that it could transfer the two players. And since the rules say that players from any subordinate team of a club can play in its main team, Rapid could use Varga and Bălan from its third team. This is a good rule as it is meant to encourage clubs to use young players from the second team in its main team. Seems that some have found new uses.

Anyway, it all sounds and is very dubious, but allowed by the Romania's rulebooks. But Rapid hadn't followed through in legal terms, probably in the hassle of the transfer, which happened right before the match against Poli. The fourth league, as I said, is under the administration of AMFB, which is subordinate to the Romanian Football Federation. But the first league is watched over and organized by LPF. So for players to play in the first league, they have to be approved by LPF. However, if AMFB aproves the players to play in their league, then LPF automatically gives them the right to play in the first league, but the procedure must be followed.

Now, after weeks of ping-pong passing the matter around, without much deliberation, it has been decided that the players did not have the right to play from LPF on the day of the match. Rapid had some notice from LPF, but was given on the 4th of March. Rapid 3 was created on the 5th, right on the day of the match. So it is clear that the notice given by LPF was invalid, has the players didn't even belong to a team, has it had not been created yet! Why LPF had given the allowance, I have no idea.

So that's it and that is why Rapid has forfeited the match, by using two players that did not have the right to play. Of course, there is the matter of morality here, that we have won 3 points that we lost on the pitch, but rules are rules and we can't break them over and over again and close our eyes when it happens. Sure, Rapid is to be blamed for trying such trickery, but there is also a bigger and more important guilt here. It's amazing that the rules are so that it can lead to such complicated issues. And also there are some facts, allowed by the governing bodies, that are plain to everybody just wrong: the transfer periods end differently among the leagues, you can make-up a team on the spot, even it has just two players, you can join a championship mid-season, LPF gives invalid decisions, and so on.

But that is a too big issue to be resolved in an instant and without proper support and it evades our subject here: Poli Timișoara. For us, this means that we jump back to second place, three points behind CFR Cluj. Next match is against Ceahlau, and a win there will mean that the home match against CFR next week will be extremely important for the championship title. Let's see how we manage this given.

No comments: