Sports ministry imposes 40% quota of Romanian nationals for team sports
The ministry of youth and sports decided that starting with the 2022-2023 season, teams that represent Romania in international competitions have to include at least 40% Romanian nationals.
The move comes after an incident back in May, when ethnic Hungarians part of Romania’s national hockey team sang the anthem of the predominantly Hungarian region of Székely Land, causing an uproar at home. Players from Miercurea Ciuc and Gheorgheni, cities predominantly inhabited by ethnic Hungarians, make up the bulk of Romania’s national hockey team.
The purpose of the quota is to provide support for Romanian athletes, sports minister Eduard Novak claimed in a video posted on social media. The measure will be implemented by national sports federations through their own statutes and regulations.
“At least 40% of the athletes present on the field during official matches must be Romanians,” said Novak, an ethnic Hungarian himself. The minister claims to have created the new measure after extensive talks with sports federations.
The Romanian Football Federation issued a statement in reply, saying that it will look into the way in which the new measure will impact football matches.
Representatives of Romania’s National Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD) said that the quota would infringe on the principle of free movement in the EU and would lead to discrimination based on citizenship.
"A French, German or Dutch citizen has the right to be part of or have an employment contract – providing, in a broad sense, services as an athlete – in Romania, under the same conditions as a Romanian citizen,” said Csaba Asztalos, head of the CNCD, quoted by Digi24.
He also said that athletes who are prevented from taking part in a sports competition due to their citizenship can sue sports federations and benefit from an existing legal precedent tried before the European Court of Justice.
(Photo source: Bogdan-Ioan Buda/Inquam Photos)