This article is very much a work in progress…
“It is said that when Argentinian customs officers discovered a football in an Englishman’s luggage, they did not know how to classify it. They had never seen anything like it and had never heard of the sport that the British were taking with them all over the world.
“We do not know what reaction the Romanian customs officers would have had. But we know for certain that in 1907, somewhere around Kiseleff Avenue, on an improvised pitch, Bucharest’s first football match was played. Romanians were only watching: the competitors were English and German, employees in the textile or petroleum industry in Bucharest, Ploiești or Câmpina. The report of that game, published in the extraordinary magazine “From the world of sports”, is considered a birth certificate for Romanian football. The same foreigners founded, in 1909, the “Association of Romanian Foot-ball Clubs”, whose act of foundation was written in English, German and Romanian.”
Translated from the article “Aşa a început fotbalul românesc (I)” by Bogdan Popa, in Historia magazine. http://www.historia.ro/exclusiv_web/general/articol/nceput-fotbalul-rom-nesc-i
The founder member clubs were:
- Colentina AC (founded in Bucharest in April 1909, representing the ‘Colentina’ cotton factory)
- Olympia (founded in Bucharest in October 1904)*
- United Ploiești (founded in Ploiești in March 1906 by American and Dutch employees of the ‘Româno-Americana’ petroleum refinery)
*I’m not sure exactly what the members of the Olympia club were doing for three years, from 1904 to the “first football match” in 1907.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Carpathians…
So much for the lands that were part of what Romanians now call the “Old Kingdom” (Vechiul Regat). Before World War I, Romanian territory and its population were both very much smaller than they are now. Read on to find out what was going on in the areas of modern Romania that were at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire…