The Liga I (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈliɡa ɨnˈtɨj]; English: First League), also spelled Liga 1 (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈliɡa ˈunu]; English: League One), is a Romanian professional league for men's association football clubs. It is currently sponsored by betting company Casa Pariurilor, and thus officially known as the Casa Liga 1. At the top of the Romanian football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 14 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Liga II. The teams play 26 matches each in the regular season, and then enter the championship play-off or the relegation play-out according to their position in the regular season.
|Organising body||Liga Profesionistă de Fotbal|
|Number of teams||14 (from 2015–16)|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Liga II|
|Domestic cup(s)||Cupa României|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League|
UEFA Europa League
|Current champions||CFR Cluj (5th title) |
|Most championships||FCSB (26 titles)|
|Most appearances||Ionel Dănciulescu (515)|
|Top goalscorer||Dudu Georgescu (252 goals)|
|TV partners||Digi Sport|
Liga I was established in 1909 and commenced play for the 1909–10 campaign, being currently on the 29th place in UEFA's league coefficient ranking list. It is administered by the Liga Profesionistă de Fotbal (LPF). Before the 2006–07 season, the competition was known as Divizia A, but the name had to be changed following the finding that someone else had registered that trademark.
The best performer is FCSB with 26 titles, followed by cross-town rival Dinamo București with 18 trophies. Of the remaining 21 clubs which came victorious in the competition, eight have won it on at least three occasions—Venus București, UTA Arad, Chinezul Timișoara, Universitatea Craiova, Petrolul Ploiești, Ripensia Timișoara, Rapid București and CFR Cluj. The latter has only been remarkably successful in the 21st century.
Early championships (1909–1921)
The first official national football tournament was organized in 1909 by the recently founded Romanian Football Federation, then called the Association of Athletic Societies in Romania (Romanian: Asociațiunea Societăților Atletice din România). The final matches of the first Romanian Football Championship were held between December 1909 and January 1910 in Bucharest. The three pioneer clubs were Olympia and Colentina from Bucharest and United from Ploiești. Each team played a fixture against the other two clubs, totalizing a number of three matches disputed, with Olympia București being crowned as champions of the first Romanian Football Championship. In the following years, the tournament was structured into regional groups with the winners of each group participating in a playoff with the eventual winners being declared champions. From 1909 until 1921, the championship was organized as a cup with the winner being crowned as Champions of Romania, except for between 1916–1919, when the competition was suspended due to World War I. The champions of this period were Olympia, Colentina and Venus, each with two titles, and United, Prahova and Româno-Americana, with one title each.
Divizia A (1921–2006)
The 1921–22 season marked the first time when a league consisting of seven teams was formed. The championship, which had been confined to several regional leagues, became a national competition in 1921 with the foundation of Divizia A and Divizia B. The inaugural Divizia A season was won by Chinezul Timișoara. Before the 1931–32 season, the competition was dominated by Chinezul and Venus București, with Chinezul winning six championships and Venus two championships during the eleven seasons. The 1932–33 season saw the rise of another successful team, Ripensia Timișoara, which alongside rivals Venus, won eight of the following nine championships, before the competition was suspended in 1940 due to World War II.
The post-war years were dominated by CCA București, UTA Arad and Petrolul Ploiești. The 1960s saw the gradual emergence of Dinamo București, with the help from strikers Gheorghe Ene and Florea Dumitrache—both of whom became some of Divizia A's top all-time scorers. The 1970s saw the rise of Dudu Georgescu, from Dinamo București, who was Divizia A's leading scorer for four seasons between 1974 and 1978. He scored an impressive 156 goals and won the European Golden Shoe award for the top scorer in Europe twice, in 1975 and 1977. Dinamo București also had two more European Golden Shoe winners in the 1986–87 season in the name of Rodion Cămătaru and in the 1988–89 season in the name of Dorin Mateuţ, with the latter being the last Romanian winner of the trophy. From the 1959–60 season all the way to the 1999–2000 season all the league championships were won by only seven teams: Steaua (16 titles), Dinamo (14 titles), Universitatea Craiova (4 titles), Rapid București, FC Argeș and UTA Arad (2 titles each), and Petrolul Ploiești (one title).
Dinamo București was the first Romanian team to qualify into the European Champions Cup in the 1956–57 season of the competition and Universitatea Craiova was the last team from Romania to qualify in the 1991–92 season, before the competition changed its name to the UEFA Champions League. Romanian teams qualified to 35 of the 37 seasons of the European Champions Cup, with Dinamo București having thirteen appearances, Steaua București having ten appearances, Universitatea Craiova having four appearances, Petrolul having three appearances, UTA Arad and FC Argeş having two appearances and Rapid București having one appearance. The most important results for a Romanian team in this competition were achieved by Steaua București which won the trophy in the 1985–86 season, and reached the semi-finals in the 1987–88 season and another final in the 1988–89 season. Other important achievements include Universitatea Craiova which reached the quarter-finals in the 1981–82 season and Dinamo București which reached the semi-finals in the 1983–84 season. However, after the change of the format in 1992–93 to the current Champions League format, Romanian champions have achieved limited successes, with Steaua only reaching the group stage three times before the 21st century.
The beginning of the 2000s were dominated by teams from the capital, with Steaua, Dinamo and Rapid winning all the league titles between 2000 and 2007.
Liga I (2006–present)
At the beginning of the 2006–07 season the competition was forced to change its name from Divizia A to Liga I due to a trademark dispute over the name. The change was made on 15 May 2006, and the Romanian Football Federation decided to also rename the lower leagues; thus Divizia B became Liga II, Divizia C became Liga III, and so on. The 2006–07 season marked the 16th straight time a team from Bucharest won the championship, with Dinamo winning the title. Both 2007–08 and 2008–09 saw new title winners as CFR Cluj and Unirea Urziceni were crowned champions for the first time. CFR Cluj won their second championship in 2009–10, while the 2010–11 saw another new winner, Oțelul Galați. Oțelul is the first and only club from the region of Moldavia to win a national title.
CFR Cluj, the 2007–08 winner became the first Romanian team to qualify directly into the 2008–09 group stage of the UEFA Champions League, and the first team other than Steaua to qualify to this stage since the beginning of the new Champions League format in 1992–93. The 2009–10 champions as well as 2010–11 ones were guaranteed a direct qualification spot into the group stage as well. The best results in the group stage was obtained by CFR Cluj in the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League with ten points and third place in a group with Manchester United, Braga and Galatasaray.
Since 2014, the Liga I has been reduced to a 14-team format. From July to the start of the following year, each team plays the others twice for 26 fixtures. They are ranked by total points, and then divided according to their position in order to enter either the championship play-off or the relegation play-out. After this stage, the points are halved in two and criteria such as goal difference, goals scored etc. are erased completely.
The clubs which enter the championship play-off play ten games, while the ones in the relegation play-out play an additional four. The championship play-off winner is also crowned winner of the season's Liga I. The two lowest placed teams in the relegation play-out are directly relegated to the Liga II, while the third-lowest plays a relegation/promotion play-off with the third-best ranked team in the second tier.
Wins by club
Bold indicates clubs currently playing in 2019–20 Liga I. Teams in italics no longer exist. Teams in neither bold or italics are existing past winners of the championship that relegated to Romania's lower leagues.
The following 14 clubs are competing in the Liga I during the 2019–20 season.
|First season in
|Number of seasons
|First season of
current spell in
|Last Liga I title|
|Academica Clinceni||Liga II2nd in||2019–20||0||2019–20||0||n/a|
|Chindia Târgoviște||Liga II1st in||2019–20||0||2019–20||0||n/a|
|Gaz Metan Mediaș||7th||1947–48||13||2016–17||0||n/a|
|Sepsi Sfântu Gheorghe||6th||2017–18||2||2017–18||0||n/a|
On 19 December 1998, SABMiller bought the naming rights for four and a half seasons, becoming the first sponsor in the history of the competition. SABMiller changed the name of the competition to "Divizia A Ursus", in order to promote their Ursus beer.
Starting with the 2004–05 season, European Drinks & Foods, a Romanian $1.3 billion USD revenue company, took over as main sponsor and changed the league's name to "Divizia A Bürger", to promote their Bürger beer.
In late 2008, European Drinks & Foods again bought the rights and the league was renamed as the "Liga I Frutti Fresh", after one of their soft drinks brand.
For the 2009–10 season, the online betting firm Gamebookers purchased the league naming rights and renamed the division "Liga 1 Gamebookers.com".
In July 2010, Bergenbier, a StarBev Group company, bought the naming rights for four seasons and changed the name of the competition to "Liga I Bergenbier", in order to promote their Bergenbier beer.
From the 2015-16 season, the French telecommunications corporation Orange became the main sponsor of the Romanian first league, after purchasing the league naming rights, for two years, and renamed the league in Liga 1 Orange.
From the 17-18 season, the international online gaming operator Betano became the main sponsor of the Romanian first league, after purchasing the league naming rights, for two years, and renamed the league in 'Liga 1 Betano'.
For the 19–20 season, the national online gaming operator Casa Pariurilor became the main sponsor of the Romanian first league, after purchasing the league naming rights, and renamed the league in 'Casa Liga 1'.
In 2004, Telesport, a small TV network, bought the broadcasting rights for $28 million. The four seasons contract ended in the summer of 2008. Telesport sold some of the broadcasting rights for matches to other Romanian networks, including, TVR1, Antena 1, Național TV and Kanal D.
In 2011, the broadcasting rights were bought by RCS & RDS for their channels Digi Sport 1, Digi Sport 2 and Digi Sport 3. This channels aired broadcasting of seven of the nine matches from each stage of the championship. The other two matches were broadcast by Antena 1 (an Intact Media Group channel) and Dolce Sport (a channel owned by Telekom Romania).
In March 2014, LPF announced that the rights were sold for a five-year period to a company from the European Union, without specifying the company's name. A month later, Look TV and Look Plus were revealed as the TV stations that would broadcast the games from Liga I and Cupa Ligii between 2014 and 2019.
|1||1993–14||Electroputere Craiova, Dinamo, Steaua||515|
|2||1968–88||Steaua, Craiova, Brașov||490|
|3||1969–88||ASA Târgu Mureș||485|
|4||1971–88||ASA Târgu Mureș, Steaua||484|
|5||1987–05||Bacău, Dinamo, Bistrița, Național, Ceahlăul||470|
|6||1993–12||Sportul, Național, Rapid, Steaua, Urziceni, Chiajna||468|
|10||1967–88||Rapid, Steaua, Timișoara, Craiova||442|
|1||1970–87||Progresul, Reșița, Dinamo, Bacău, Buzău, Moreni||252 (Ø 0,68)|
|2||1993–14||Electroputere Craiova, Dinamo, Steaua||214 (Ø 0,41)|
|3||1974–89||Craiova, Dinamo||198 (Ø 0,52)|
|4||1974–89||Argeș, Olt Scornicești, Steaua, Sibiu||190 (Ø 0,49)|
|5||1966–83||Dinamo, Jiul, Corvinul||170 (Ø 0,47)|
|5||1963–77||Rapid, Craiova||170 (Ø 0,62)|
|7||1970–87||Național, Sportul||167 (Ø 0,41)|
|8||1975–89||Olt Scornicești, Steaua||166 (Ø 0,55)|
|9||1962–76||U Cluj, Vagonul Arad, CFR||160 (Ø 0,45)|
|10||1947–64||Unirea Tricolor, Dinamo, Brașov, Național, Rapid||157 (Ø 0,58)|
|4||2010–19||Brașov, Rapid, Petrolul Ploiești, Astra, Steaua||209|
|5||2010–19||Gloria Bistrița, Gaz Metan, U Craiova, Steaua, Dinamo, Chiajna||207|
|7||2008–16||Politehnica Iași, Brașov, Vaslui, U Cluj||199|
|7||2008–||Gaz Metan, Pandurii, Viitorul Constanța||199|
|9||2011–18||Ceahlăul, Politehnica Iași, Steaua, Gaz Metan, FC Botoșani||197|
|10||2007–17||Urziceni, Steaua, U Craiova, ASA Târgu Mureș, Viitorul Constanța||186|
|1||2008–15||Vaslui, Politehnica Iași||64 (Ø 0,53)|
|1||2008–||Gaz Metan, Pandurii, Viitorul||64 (Ø 0,29)|
|3||2011–18||Ceahlăul, Politehnica Iași, Steaua, Gaz Metan, FC Botoșani||55 (Ø 0,27)|
|4||2015–||Dinamo, Steaua||52 (Ø 0,43)|
|5||2008–14||Steaua, CFR||48 (Ø 0,38)|
|6||2010–19||Gloria Bistrița, Gaz Metan, U Craiova, Steaua, Dinamo, Chiajna||42 (Ø 0,20)|
|7||2007–15||Farul, Astra||41 (Ø 0,28)|
|8||2006–14||Vaslui||39 (Ø 0,22)|
|9||2012–19||Gaz Metan, Politehnica Iași, Astra||37 (Ø 0,25)|
|10||1991–95||Dinamo||36 (Ø 0,36)|
|1||14 years, 10 months and 5 days||Știința Cluj - Dinamo Pitești 5–1||1961–62|
|2||15 years, one month and 19 days||Ceahlăul Piatra Neamț - FC Vaslui 2–0||2013–14|
|3||15 years, 2 months and 13 days||Dinamo - Sportul Studențesc 1–3||2011–12|
|4||15 years, 2 months and 21 days||FC Vaslui - Astra 1-4||2013–14|
|5||15 years, 6 months and 6 days||Dinamo - Farul Constanța 5-2||1996–97|
|6||15 years, 8 months and 18 days||Universitatea Craiova - UTA 3–1||1976–77|
|7||15 years, 8 months and 21 days||Dinamo - Universitatea Craiova 5–0||2004–05|
|8||15 years, 9 months and 21 days||SR Brașov - Gloria Bistrița 4–1||2012–13|
|9||15 years, 10 months and 10 days||Oțelul Galați - Ceahlăul Piatra Neamț 4–1||2014–15|
|10||15 years, 10 months and 15 days||Sportul Studențesc - CS Mioveni 0–0||2011–12|
Performance in international competitions
From the quarter-finals onwards.
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- "LPF a schimbat numele Ligii I". Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 25 July 2008.
- "Liga 1 Gamebookers.com, noul nume al întrecerii interne". prosport.ro (in Romanian). 5 November 2009.
- "Bergenbier este noul sponsor al Ligii I". Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 19 July 2010.
- "Orange este noul partener principal al Ligii 1 de fotbal!". Orange. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
- "Antena 1 dă 85 milioane de euro plus TVA și câștigă licitația pentru drepturile de televizare ale partidelor din Liga 1". Hotnews.ro (in Romanian). 31 March 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
- "LPF a cedat drepturile TV pe cinci ani către o companie din Uniunea Europeană". Mediafax (in Romanian). 4 March 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "OFICIAL. Unde se vede LIGA I la TV în perioada 2014-2019". obiectiv.info (in Romanian). 2 April 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "FOTO&VIDEO Dănciulescu a împlinit 37 de ani! Mesajul fostului atacant dinamovist" [PHOTO & VIDEO Dănciulescu celebrates 37 years! The message of the former Dinamo striker] (in Romanian). Digisport.ro. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Ionel Dănciulescu, 19 ani de la debut și record de meciuri în Liga 1" [Ionel Dănciulescu, 19 years from his debut and a record of matches played in Liga 1] (in Romanian). Digisport.ro. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Record istoric de 24 de ani bătut sâmbătă seara" [Historical record of 24 years beaten Saturday night] (in Romanian). Digisport.ro. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Danciu, atacantul care se ia la trîntă cu recordurile: prima pentru cota 200!" [Danciu, the striker who tries to break the records: the first for the 200 share!] (in Romanian). Gsp.ro. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Rei Mario? Camora poate deveni in acest sezon stranierul cu cele mai multe meciuri in Liga 1" [King Mario? Camora can become this season the foreigner with the most matches in Liga 1] (in Romanian). Sport.ro. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "KING ERIC. Brazilianul a devenit cel mai bun marcator strain din istoria Ligii 1, la egalitate cu Wesley, dupa golul marcat cu Botosani! Cum arata clasamentul" [KING ERIC. The Brazilian has become the best foreign scorer in the history of League 1, tied with Wesley, after the goal scored with Botosani!How does the ranking look] (in Romanian). Sport.ro. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "TOP 10 - Cei mai buni marcatori străini" [TOP 10 - The best 10 foreign goalscorers] (in Romanian). Lpf.ro. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Top 10 cei mai tineri debutanti in Liga 1" [Top 10 youngest debutants in Liga 1] (in Romanian). Gsp.ro. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
- "Mesaj de suflet al perlei Craiovei pentru fanii olteni: "Idolul meu e Ion Oblemenco"" [A message from the soul of Craiova's pearl for the Oltenian fans: "My idol is Ion Oblemenco"] (in Romanian). Gsp.ro. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- "Marian Drăghiceanu, al patrulea cel mai tânăr debutant din Liga 1. Tânărul jucător al Ceahlăului a fost trimis pe teren în minutul 89 al meciului cu Oțelul" [Marian Drăghiceanu, the fourth youngest starter in Liga 1. The young player from Ceahlăul was sent on the field in the 89th minute of the match with Oțelul] (in Romanian). Prosport.ro. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
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- "UEFA Association Club Coefficient 2018/2019". UEFA Country Coefficients. Retrieved 12 June 2019.