Romania: Officials plan 400 new football pitches

Romanian football fans Image copyright AFP
Image caption Romania's football fans will have plenty of choice if they fancy a kickabout in future

The Romanian government wants to build hundreds of new football pitches in the run-up to the Euro 2020 championships, it's reported.

Plans have been announced to build 400 new pitches across the country, as well as upgrading existing stadiums, the Romania Insider website reports. Football will also be given a dedicated place in the school curriculum, with an hour every week being devoted to the sport in schools from 2015, the website says. The measures were announced by Prime Minister Victor Ponta during a meeting on how Romania could prepare for the Euro 2020 tournament. Matches are due to be spread across Europe, with Romania hosting four of them at the National Arena in Bucharest. Mr Ponta is currently running for president, with the first round of voting due to take place on 2 November.

The country's football team has had mixed fortunes in recent years, the website points out. Ranked 21st in the world by FIFA, the team hasn't qualified for an international competition since 2008, and last played in a World Cup in 1998. Economically Romania's continues to grow, and the country saw a drastic fall in poverty from 36% in 2000 to around 4% in 2012, according to the World Bank's measures. But it still has one of the highest poverty rates in the European Union.

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