Gaman and Barboianu can be considered free players. Universitatea’s boss, fined and suspended for 6 months!
The third meeting that judged the case filed by the two Universitatea Craiova players ended with a favorable result for Valerica Gaman and Stefan Barboianu. The two defenders are no longer under contract with Universitatea, although the club has the right to appeal this decision in the next five days.
With Gaman missing out on a move to Vitesse Arnhem, a few weeks ago, but still in demand both in Ukraine and Romania, the negotiations that already took place are expected to enter the final stage. Barboianu, a versatile full-back and former U21 national team player, shouldn’t have too much trouble in finding quickly another team either. Still, I doubt that Craiova’s owner, Adrian Mititelu, who was fined and suspended for half of year, after his repeated attacks in the media, will accept defeat without another fight. If he was able to present five years long contracts signed by the players a day before they left the training camp without notice, in the middle of the night, I’m sure he’ll think of something else and try to turn things in his favor. And don’t think it’s impossible, we’re in Romania!
Vitesse’s official website announces the imminent transfer of Valerica Gaman, a key player in Romania’s U21 and Universitatea Craiova’s skipper. The elegant centre-back, who is one of the most promising players in Liga I at the moment, apparently agreed terms and is expected to pass a medical test in Arnhem, with Vitesse confident to close the deal in the next few days. The rumored transfer fee is around 3 million Euros, but that won’t guarantee a quick and smooth agreement, as the player’s situation is quite confusing and the Dutch club could be in for a real and (unexpected?) adventure…
Right after Victor Piturca’s departure, Gaman and a colleague, Barboianu, left from Universitatea’s training camp in the middle of the night and refused to make any public appearance or comment since then. The surprising gesture, which normally would have caused lots of trouble for the two players (who were still under contract with Universitatea!), has some interesting background, though. Apparently, as a guarantee that Piturca will get his money back from Craiova (you can read more on the manager who played the owner’s role for a few months here), the former manager received three signed pieces of paper that represent the club’s agreement on three transfers, with the name and the details to be filled by Piturca, who should also get the respective transfer fees.
Of course, Adrian Mititelu, the owner, states that the papers cannot be used and has asked Piturca to have a talk for more than a week, saying that he has a good offer for Gaman and that the current situation can affect the deal. So, my question is: with who is Vitesse “about to close” the deal? Universitatea Craiova or Victor Piturca? I’m afraid that unless Vitesse can talk with both parties involved in this row, the Eredivisie side might pay a lot of money not just for a very promising player, but also for an unwanted set of problems…
PS In the past, Universitatea Craiova sold two other players to Holland and it proved to be the right move for both Gheorghe “Gica” Popescu (PSV Eindhoven) and Cristi Chivu (Ajax Amsterdam)!
UPDATE: As expected, the war began and it is now clear that whoever offered Gaman to Vitesse trusted Victor Piturca’s papers and plans. Universitatea Craiova just released a statement saying that Gaman is not available for a transfer, that he is under contract until June 2015 and that there is not a single document saying that he can leave the club or that he is available on a free transfer. Universitatea also says that Vitesse was also informed of this earlier today, reminding them that speaking with a player without the club’s permission is forbidden and threatened to take further action against both the player and Vitesse, if they don’t stop negotiating!
Piturca’s arrival was perfect for the struggling Universitatea, one of the most beloved teams in Romania and a traditional rival for the Bucharest sides that had now every reason to fear again “The White and Blue Love”. Some of the most promising Romanian players were going to shine under the command of the former national team coach, who came to Craiova with a very ambitious project based on the strangest agreement you’ll ever know between a manager and a club’s owner.
It was all due to Adrian Mititelu’s huge financial problems, who was struggling to keep the club running, but was hoping to cash out on a blocked deal that should have cleared, according to his expectations, around 40 million Euros. In cash! By the end of August, after a short affair with Steaua’s aggressive owner, Gigi Becali, Piturca agreed to sign a three years long deal as a manager, but he was supposed to be a lot more than that, as he had promised to loan the club (with interest!) the needed money to survive until January 2011. By that time, the owner should have paid back the borrowed money and make available 5 million Euros in the club’s account, as the current season’s budget. That should have kicked-off Piturca’s plans to rebuild the squad and prepare it for his only goal in Romania: the title challenge.
The club was a total mess! The staff was unpaid for almost an entire year. The players, for 5 to 8 months. The unpaid bills for the stadium’s and the club’s utilities were huge. Former players that had sued Universitatea could have blocked Piturca’s transfer plans, so they also required tens of thousand Euros in compensation. Each. The club’s training camp needed investment as well, with the water coming through the ceiling. Basically, it was a miracle that Universitatea was playing first division football. In fact, no, it was the fault of the always lenient authorities, who are wondering why there is so much chaos in football, no interest from solid investors and companies to step in and the current lack of international results. It was a worrying reality, not a miracle. But that’s another story…
Piturca used his money to solve most of these problems and his knowledge to improve the squad. The extremely passionate crowd immediately responded, and the manager’s nickname “Satan” was going to get a pair of white wings. Over 20.000 fans returned to “Ion Oblemenco” and there was talk about the European competitions, where Craiova had left its mark back in 1982, by reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, after taking out clubs like Fiorentina, Bordeaux and Kaiserslautern. What was going on behind the scenes remained a secret the whole time, until the beginning of this week, when everything surfaced.
Unable to come up with the money and feeling that he has no more control over his club, Adrian Mititelu asked the bodyguards to stop Piturca and his staff at the gates, as they were coming to meet the team and resume training, after the winter break. The owner had been angered by the manager’s decision to consider a deal that would have sent some of the club’s hottest prospects to CFR Cluj, as well as his lack of reaction to the iminent departure of the unpaid Bulgarian players, Iliev and Gargorov. Piturca, on the other hand, saw CFR’s offer as a chance to cash in on a few millions and realized that, since August, he had been the only one to invest money in the club, so he asked Mititelu to respect the agreement and start delivering.
The bubble burst in Romanian style and a huge televised scandal followed, with the important facts covered in hilarious comments. The bald Mititelu: “You hired bald cooks at the club!”. The bold Piturca: “Your cook was only able to make scrambled eggs. You don’t even know what prosciutto and parmesan are!”. It was a mistake from the manager, who should have sticked to other incredible facts, besides the ones presented above: the club’s owner was also hired as a General Director, so he was paid by Piturca since August with 10.000 Euros/month, according to his contract; the club’s owner used to come up after matches and take all the cash collected from the sold tickets, for personal use; all the payments made by Piturca came directly from his pocket, as Universitatea had the bank accounts frozen (by the way, do you think the Romanian authorities reacted when hearing this?).
Right now, as Mititelu should pay Piturca 5 million Euros in case of a sacking, the manager and his staff have been suspended and are under investigation for “unprofessional behaviour”, hoping that Piturca will eventually resign. The team passed today the medical exam and a new coach is expected to take over. The angered fans are gathering daily to protest against this treatment and hoping to determine Mititelu to step away. Whatever happens in Craiova won’t matter much, though. What really matters is when the rules will be applied in Romanian football – I wonder what FIFA and UEFA think of this organized chaos - and the game will reject such characters and severely punish similar practice. It should happen more or less at the same time when the entire Romanian society will find some respect for the law and will sense that the blindfolded woman holding a balance in her hand doesn’t obey political orders anymore and treats everyone the same.
Universitatea Craiova’s passionate fans said good-bye to one of the club’s biggest fans, Adrian Paunescu, the poet who wrote the lyrics for the club’s anthem. Excellent moment, too bad for the poor work done by the broadcasting station…
- FC Vaslui – Victoria Branesti 1-0 (Canu 64)
Third consecutive win under Viorel Hizo, who’s as famous not just for his good starts, but also for the way his team loses something along the way. Victoria put up a fight, as always, and it was a nice game to watch, with a good rhythm and some dangerous counters, leading to chances at both ends. Currently struggling in the relegation zone, Ilie Stan’s men will be a handful for most of the teams and that 1-7 defeat suffered in Giulesti was just an accident. I expect this 100% Romanian team to climb towards a more safer zone and all credit should go to a young coach who has done an excellent job in organizing the play so far. Read more…
When Victor Piturca threatened his players that they will lose their wages for 3 or 4 months, if they play as selfish as CFR’s Lacina Traore, it would have been interesting to know what gsp.ro announces today: several players from Universitatea have, at least on paper, incredible wages for what they can offer and have offered to this beloved, but underachieving club, in recent years.
The club’s highest earner and also top player, Florin Costea, who’s currently injured, gets 410.000 Euros/season, a salary that cannot be found at the champion club, for example, where Sixto Peralta, the former Internazionale midfielder, gets 375.000 Euros/year. But let’s say that Costea deserves this, given his on-the-pitch input when fit, as well as a market value calculated in million Euros. But to hear that Spase Dilevski, an Australian defensive midfielder, who never stood out as a decisive player for the club, earns 370.000 Euros per season, and Mihai Dina, an average 25 years old forward, who has an excellent year when he scores five goals in the league, was getting paid 180.000 Euros/season, obviously shocked Universitatea’s new manager. Wage cuts of -40% followed immediately, with non-negotiable offers accepted by the mentioned players, as well as by the young Mihai Costea (down to 120.000 from 180.000), while others, like the 28 years old Brazilian David Lopes, are expected to either accept half of their current wages or leave the club during the winter break.
When Astra Ploiesti announced the transfer of three players from last season’s runner-up, Unirea Urziceni, it all looked very strange, especially with a certain George Galamaz (team captain, national team player) among them. A week later, the deal that had been announced even on Astra’s official website was off: Gigi Becali, Steaua’s owner, who had to receive around 4 million Euros from Dumitru Bucsaru, discussed a deal that makes the Bucharest club extremely well-equipped for a title race that looks less demanding than in the past three seasons. Six players will move to Ghencea: George Galamaz (central defender), Ricardo Gomes (central midfielder), Iulian Apostol (central midfielder), Laurentiu Marinescu (attacking midfielder), Marius Onofras (forward), Marius Bilasco (centre forward). Number seven is still in talks with Steaua, but is definitely worth waiting for: Pablo Brandan, the Argentinian left back who was so close to VFB Stuttgart last winter and waited in vain for an offer from abroad, which, surprisingly, didn’t arrive. This extraordinary move on the transfer market comes as a blow for Steaua’s rivals, who had already enough problems on their own, but brings good news especially for Universitatea Craiova, where Victor Piturca gets an unexpected gift: some of the players brought by him to Ghencea this summer are available either for free (Todorov) or for low fees (Dorel Stoica – 100.000 Euros).
After putting together a good team at Steaua – 14 buys during the summer – which Ilie Dumitrescu almost eliminated from Europe, with his defensive approach in Zurich, Victor Piturca took his staff to Craiova, where he signed a three years long deal.
Universitatea’s huge and passionate fan base has every reason to celebrate (around 3.000 fans watched the team’s first training session), but the new manager was wise cautious enough to calm everyone down, looking nervous, pessimist and overpreoccupied, as always. Still, this means nothing to the supporters that had to go through a lot in recent years, facing relegation and having to spend a lot of time in Severin, far from their beloved stadium, “Ion Oblemenco”. With Piturca back in town, their dreams can must come through: they should start beating the crap out of Steaua, Dinamo and Rapid, which is far more important than winning the league or the Romanian Cup. Which should come as a natural consequence and will look very pretty in the club’s trophy room, next to the four championships and six cups, if everything goes right. And why shouldn’t it go right? Read more…
Dorel Stoica is a 32 years old player who has been training with Steaua all summer, as Victor Piturca was convinced that he can build a successful team around this anchorman. Piturca was also convinced that a player who had moved on a free transfer from Universitatea Craiova to Al Ettifaq and arrived to Bucharest free of his contract with Al Ettifaq, can be signed without problems. What Steaua’s manager overlooked was that he’s in Romania, “the land of choice”. So, he learned recently that Stoica was forced to sign an additional page to his contract with Universitatea Craiova, agreeing that he can move on a free transfer anywhere outside Romania, but if a Romanian club would EVER want to get him, than it should come up with 999.000 Euros!
Both clubs are playing hard ball at the moment: Steaua registered the player’s contract, while Universitatea officially asked for LPF’s involvement in the case. What’s for sure is that, as soon as football ended in South Africa, the circus restarted in Romania! How could someone not love the game?
Well, this can only happen in Romania: a Dutch coach, with an excellent reputation, who comes here to save a team from relegation, is accused of something Romanian players, referees, club officials and club owners are doing on a regular basis! That’s why foreign coaches and players should think twice before saying yes to an offer to come here.
In Romania, football is a mud fight – and I’m not referring to the muddy pitches ;-) – once you’re in, it’s impossible to come out clean!
PS For those interested in Craiova’s scenario (who offered it to the press, putting more pressure on a coach that should get a lot of money, if sacked), Wotte has been accused that before the game against International (lost 1-3, at home) he went to a meeting with people close to International’s owner, Benone Lazar. Wotte is currently suspended, which means that he’s still under contract, but not allowed to train the players and sit on the bench, with veteran midfielder Eugen Trica and Craiova’s legendary player Ilie Balaci taking care of things until the end of the season.