George Becali, the owner of the most important Romanian football club, Steaua Bucharest has lost the club’s brand to Army’s Sports Club after the Supreme Court took this decision on Wednesday evening, just 24 hours before the Romanian Cup clash with Liga 1 revelation of the season, CSU Craiova. This means that FC Steaua Bucharest can no longer use its name and logo.
1947 – Steaua was founded on June 7th 1947 by the Romanian Royal Army. Its initial name was A.S.A. București (Asociația Sportivă a Armatei București – Army’s Sports Association Bucharest) including football and other several sections.
1961 – The name as we know it today first appeared in 1961: C.S.A. Steaua Bucharest (Army’s Sports Club Steaua).
1996 – C.S.A. registered the brand Steaua (colours red, blue and white) to the State Office for Inventions and Marks (OSIM). The team continued its activity under the Army’s (MApN – Ministry of National Defense) edge till 2002 when George Becali has purchased the majority of the club’s shares.
1998 – The football section separated from the C.S.A. and became Football Club Steaua București.
2004 – In January, George Becali asked C.S.A. Steaua for express consent to register to OSIM the brand Steaua Bucuresti with small changes (colours red, blue, white and yellow). C.S.A. refused.
2004 – Because he was refused, Becali tried to obtain the brand in other way. He asked the Association Football Club Steaua Bucuresti, run by his friend Teia Sponte, organization that took care of Steaua’s football club administration until 2004, to give him the brand through cession. Sponte accepted Becali’s request without C.S.A. agreement. In April, OSIM approved the cession.
2004 – On the 3rd of December, SC Fotbal Club Steaua București SA registered the name Steaua București to the State Office for Inventions and Marks (OSIM) for 10 years.
2006 – Teia Sponte’s association was dissolved.
2011 – C.S.A. Steaua București started a trial to the Court requesting to cancel the registered name in 2004 by FC Steaua București.
2012 – Bucharest Court rejects C.S.A.’s request and FC Steaua București continued to use the name and logo as registered.
2013 – Bucharest Court of Appeal also rejects C.S.A.’s request on 20th of December. C.S.A. takes the case to the High Court of Cessation and Justice.
2013 – C.S.A. Steaua București registered the name Steaua București to the State Office for Inventions and Marks on 23rd of December, this being possible because the registration made by FC Steaua București in 2004 was in litigation.
2014 – In February, OSIM extended the brand rights to FC Steaua București until 2024.
2014 – In September, OSIM decided that the only one entitled to use the brand is C.S.A.
2014 – December 3rd, High Court of Cessation and Justice from Romania took a decision in the favor of C.S.A. Steaua Bucuresti, approving the request stated in 2011. Therefore the name registered by FC Steaua Bucuresti in 2004 has been canceled. The decision is final and irrevocable.
In this case, the owner of FC Steaua Bucuresti, George Becali (now imprisoned) has two options: either he will change the name and logo of the team or he will negotiate with MApN (Ministry of National Defense) to continue using the name, logo and colors of the team. If Becali will change the team’s name and logo, he can continue to use Steaua’s record starting from 2004.
Steaua’s president Valeriu Argaseala said that they will play the home game against Iasi on Sunday in their away shirts and without the club badge, and on Monday, 8th of December, they will hold talks with MApN.
UPDATE 8th of December
C.S.A. will let Steaua to use the brand for Thursday’s Europa League game against Dinamo Kiev. If the League Cup game will be played on Sunday (Steaua asked for postponement), Steaua will be able to use the brand in that game too. Another meeting will take place after that. They will have time to negotiate in the winter break.
Steaua’s most important performances are Champions League winners and UEFA Super Cup winners, both in 1986. They also hold the record in Romania regarding national titles (25) and cup winners (21).