The last straw: Steaua Bucharest will not accept vaccinated players

Steaua Bucharest, the most popular team in the Romanian first division, will take an unusual measure, based on the anti-vaccine position of its owner, the ultra-conservative tycoon and politician Gigi Becali: it will not admit players vaccinated against the coronavirus, because according to his vision, being inoculated takes away their strength to perform on the field.

Becali, real estate tycoon and leader of the far-right Party of the New Generation – Christian Democrat, assures that his decision has to do with protecting the health of soccer players. “You’re going to laugh, but he may be right. Those vaccinated lose strength. That’s something scientific,” Becali said, according to journalist Emanuel Rosu, quoted by the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo. “Didn’t you see in Cluj? With Rapid, the players looked like they were going to pass out. All the vaccinated people lose their strength! I see it in mine too. It doesn’t affect some, but it affects the older ones. Right? Have you seen Criprian Deac (former player of the Romanian national team)?”, Becali pointed out, a very popular character in Romania, who usually has controversial appearances on television programs.

Becali’s statement, which also states that many vaccinated have died in hospitals, sparked a furious reaction from the Romanian government, which seeks to minimize the impact of the Steaua owner’s words. In a statement, the government’s official Facebook page rejected Becali’s statements. “Vaccinated soccer players DO NOT lose strength after being vaccinated against Covid-19! From a medical and scientific point of view, there are no studies that support a singularity like the one recently promoted. Vaccination does not affect the performance of soccer players. On the other hand, there are enough studies that show that going through the Covid-19 infection leaves long-term sequelae and these can influence the performance of soccer players, “explained the Government.

At the moment, Becali, famous in Romania for his racist, homophobic and sexist positions, which often cross the line of provocation, did not clarify what he will do with the contracts of the players who have already been vaccinated, beyond ensuring that they will not be able to play in the first team.

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This is not the first outburst of the eccentric leader. A few months before the pandemic and when his team was going through a poor run of results, Becali attributed it to the fact that the Steaua footballers were having too much sexual activity, which affected their performance on the field. “My players are making love to their girlfriends too often, that’s why they don’t play football that well lately,” he said at the time, sparking another big controversy.

A former sheepherder before becoming a millionaire with real estate deals, Becali maintains his flock, which he usually takes out for a walk through the streets of the city of Pipera and causes traffic chaos. He was also detained for alleged kidnapping and corruption, although he was later released.

Author of large financial donations, which allow him to maintain his popularity in many strata of Romanian society, Becali is also the owner of the worst sexist and homophobic vices. For example, he banned Queen songs from the Ghencea stadium because he considered Freddie Mercury, leader of the legendary British band, “satanic” for being homosexual.

He also assured that he would never have a women’s soccer team because he considered it “unnatural” and because women had been created to attract men, in a television interview. “Women’s soccer is unnatural, it aligns with the ideas of Satan,” said Becali. “You can’t go against God’s will. How can women play soccer? They don’t have the right physique for it, their body wasn’t made for soccer, it’s dangerous. Women were created to be pretty and to attract to the opposite sex.” Now, his anti-vaccine stance has led him to cross a new limit, although it will be necessary to see if he is able to specify what he threatened with words.

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