A couple of pieces of sporting news to report today.
Most relevant to Csikszereda is the news that Steaua Bucharest ice hockey team (not to be confused with the football team of the same name - they are not linked as far as I can tell) has decided to next year play in the Hungarian league. The invitation to participate in that league has been open ever since Sport Cloub from here decided to join it two years ago, but Steaua previously decided not to go down that route. Having watched the Romanian league title be contested by the two Csikszereda teams (Sport Club and Hochei Club) this year, squeezing Steaua out of the championship game for the first time since the 50s, they have obviously realised that the only way to stay competitive is to be in Hungary as well. I think it's good in many ways that they have decided to do this - partly because if it were just the "Hungarian" teams from Romania that took part it would all look a bit nationalistic, partly because I think the more competitive the league the better, and partly because I just don't think it can do any harm to have what will essentially become a Hungary-Romania league in a sport (there will be 4 Romanian teams and 7 Hungarian teams in this league next year)
More intriguing from an external perspective is the ongoing saga of the football league. This is going down to the wire with the last games being played on Wednesday this week. The last time I wrote about football here, CFR Cluj were well ahead but I feared a comeback by Steaua, which duly came to pass, thanks partly to some wobbling by CFR and some very suspiciously dodgy decisions and moments in Steaua's games (including one game against Rapid in which they were 1-0 down, but the ref called off the match gifting Steaua a 3-0 win). A good summary is here from Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian.
Anyway, last night, Dinamo beat Steaua 2-1 to leave CFR one point clear at the top. They only need to win their last game to take the title. It's just that this last game is against city rivals U Cluj. And U Cluj's fans hate CFR passionately. And while U are already relegated, I assume the players will do their utmost to knock CFR off so that they can give something back to the fans who've watched them through a very bad season. And who knows what pressures the ref will have come under.
If Becali, the most vile man in Romania, gets his way and Steaua win the league, I'm giving up on football in this country. It's corrupt beyond belief. So come on CFR. Please.
Southport’s Summer of Discontent
2 days ago