Former Tottenham star denies being a secret police informant
Gica Popescu accused of helping brutal Commie regime
Gica Popescu is a bit of a legend in his native Romania. The former defender was never outside the top 4 in the Romanian Footballer of the Year awards for 13 years from 1989 until 2001, thanks in part to the European Cup Winners’ Cup medal he earned in 1997 as captain of Barcelona, and also a season in the Premiership with Tottenham.
Popescu is currently campaigning to become head of the Romanian Soccer Federation, but his bid has been hampered by allegations that he supplied to the Securitate (Romania’s rather nasty communist secret service) with information from 1986 until the regime was toppled in 1989. The Canadian Press (huh?) reports:
The 41-year-old Popescu said he once signed a document promising to “defend the national interests” during the regime of the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
“I signed a very general thing. My conscience isn’t clear, it’s very clear,” he said at a news conference. “I didn’t inform on anyone.”
In the late eighties, the Securitate kept tabs on all Romania’s athletes, and those competing in international tournaments were allegedly made to share the details of their conversations with foreigners.
Although the regime employed half a million informants out of a population of just 22 million, Popescu has dismissed the claims as a “big lie” designed to derail his current ambitions within Romanian football’s governing body.