Anti-Roma Racism at Romanian Football Game
22 July 2005
According to information and materials provided by the Brussels-based non-governmental organisation European Roma Information Office (ERIO), on April 13, 2005, during a football match between Steaua Bucharest and Rapid Bucharest, massive racially motivated verbal invective was used against Rapid Bucharest, a team largely supported by Roma, and its Romani supporters the European Roma Information Office reported on April 15. The loudspeaker was used to propagate racial slurs and one of Romania's most racist songs "Gypsies and UFOs", was played. After the game, Gabi Safta, a representative for Steaua Bucharest, verbally abused coach Razvan Lucescu of Rapid Bucharest, calling him a "stinking Gypsy." Throughout the game the gallery chanted "We have always hated gypsies, we have always pissed on you."
Before the game, Gigi Becali, the owner of Steaua Bucharest, publicly declared he would assault the ex-owner of Rapid Bucharest, who is now within the Romanian government, if he dared to show up to the game. Mr. Becali, one of the richest men in Romania, openly supports the extreme right wing organisation Noua Dreapta, an organisation that follows the same doctrine as the Iron Guard, the extreme Nazi movement in Romania during WWII. According to the Iron Guard website, Roma are considered a "subhuman group which steals our bread, dilutes our traditions, mugs our brothers, and kills our parents."
At the end of the game, Valentin Alexandru, the Romanian Football Federation's observer, said "the game was played in normal conditions." Further information on the situation of Roma in Romania can be found on ERRC's website at http://errc.org.