06.08.2020 15:27 h

Romania league shake-up saves Dinamo from relegation

The Romanian Football Federation (FRF) announced Thursday it was expanding its top-flight Liga I from 14 to 16 clubs, thereby saving the storied Dinamo Bucharest from relegation.

FRF President Razvan Burleanu said in a press conference that the change would take effect from the beginning of the 2020/2021 season.

"It's the right moment to do this and I'm happy that the clubs have supported this suggestion," Burleanu said, adding that the move would bring clubs "more income and strengthen competition".

Romania's football league restarted in June as the country came out of its coronavirus shutdown.

Dinamo have been hard hit by the pandemic, with around 10 of its players testing positive for the virus since matches restarted.

Five of their matches have been cancelled, meaning they slipped down to second from bottom of the table, with 24 points.

Dinamo, with 18 Liga I titles, belonged to Romania's interior ministry in the communist era.

The club's fate seemed to be sealed on Monday when the FRF said it would not extend the current season, dashing the hopes of fans who had wanted to see cancelled matches rescheduled.

But Thursday's decision means the club will nevertheless stay in Liga I.

In 2015 Liga I was slimmed down from 18 clubs to 14 in an effort to "clean up" Romanian football after several clubs were hit by corruption scandals and financial woes.