Apr 252013
Steaua Bucharest

The European Court of Justice decides that it is up to the Romanian Football Club Steaua Bucharest to prove to the Club's former owner George Becali not discriminated against an alleged gay professional football player.

The statements came in 2010 during an interview about a possible transfer of an unnamed Bulgarian footballer.

-Not even if I was forced to close the Steaua, I would accept a gay on the team.

-Maybe he is not gay, but what if he is? There is no place for gay men in my family, and Steaua are my family. I'd rather play with a youth player than to have someone who is gay, said George Becali, who incidentally is a member of the EU Parliament.

The statements came a few days after Becali had sold his majority shareholding in the Club, but since Steaua Bucharest did not distance himself from the comments, the European Court of Justice decides that it looks as if they came from the Club.

In addition, it is not clear to Becali did press that he spoke out on behalf of the Club.

The EU ruling sends the case back to Romania, where, therefore, it is up to the Steaua to prove that the Club does not have a discriminatory approach to recruit players.

It can happen at that Club distancing itself from the statements made. There is talk about a fundamental issue which is raised by the non-governmental organization Acceptance, fighting for Lesbian, gay, bisexual and Transgender Rights.

Thus, there is no imposed any fine or other penalty in relation to Steaua Bucharest.

The EU Court also expressed concern over a Romanian law that was to blame in that Becali could settle for a warning, because the verdict came more than six months after his remarks.

The order was supposed to be "effective, proportionate and have a deterrent effect", States from the European Court of Justice.

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