BUCHAREST, May 20 (Reuters) - Seven Romanian top flight clubs have had points deducted by the country's football federation (FRF) for failing to put their financial affairs in order and meet licensing criteria.
Bottom club Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt, already relegated to the second tier, will start the 2015-2016 season with minus nine points while third-placed Petrolul Ploiesti and relegation-threatened CFR Cluj were hit with a six-point deduction.
In February, CFR Cluj were deducted 24 points by the Romanian Football League because of their inability to deal with spiralling debts.
Relegated Otelul Galati as well as Rapid Bucharest, Brasov and Universitatea Cluj-Napoca, who are all deep in relegation trouble, were deducted three points each, the FRF said in a statement on Wednesday.
Second division Metalul Resita were docked nine points and fined 180,000 lei ($44,978.64) after failing to meet licensing and infrastructure criteria.
Fifth-placed Universitatea Craiova were denied a licence to play in European competition next season because they did not meet UEFA's financial requirements.
Universitatea said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Many Romanian clubs face considerable infrastructure difficulties and are struggling to meet administrative, legal and financial conditions laid down by European soccer's governing body.
($1 = 4.0019 lei) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Ken Ferris)