The former leader of Romanian opposition party PSD has decided to postpone his departure from the group, enough to secure front pages throughout the Romanian media. Otherwise, the newspapers focus on lighter political issues and jokes, but pay most interest in the coming confrontation between Bucharest-based football clubs Rapid and Steaua in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.

Former House speaker Adrian Nastase announced yesterday that he would no longer consider for now to depart from the party he’s been with from the very beginning, the PSD. His rupture with the group and a possible admission in the smaller Conservative Party had been hugely speculated upon by the media this week.

Adevarul considers Nastase has decided not to leave the group following a discussion with President Traian Basescu on the issue.

The implications are thoroughly analyzed by Evenimentul Zilei and other newspapers in a debate on the fate of the many PSD members who planned to follow Nastase out of the group.

Evenimentul Zilei says Nastase’s cronies have asked for the heads of two other party leaders to prevent a scission of the PSD, while Cotidianul believes the many camps within the party have only joined forces against their former leader.

Romania libera considers that the one and only to control the turmoil within the main opposition group is former President Ion Iliescu.

And for Gandul it is clear that Nastase opted to postpone the rupture because too few PSD rebels were ready to follow him into the Conservative Party, a member of the current governing coalition.

The same Gandul has fun with a statement by maverick politician Gigi Becali, owner of the Steaua football club and leader of the small, populist New Generation Party, who offered to absorb the PSD into his own political group.

Evenimentul Zilei proves just as light on political issues with a huge feature with the mother of prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Angela Atanasiade. On the eve of the national day of Greece, the newspaper reveals the Greek descent of Atanasiade and what it meant for the family of the current PM.

Meanwhile, the economic weekly Capital is showing more interest on the money spent so far in major cases of graft and corruption investigated by Romanian prosecutors. Only five of them managed to absorb millions of euro so far, with the organized crime case against Rompetrol head Dinu Patriciu sucking 15 million RON alone. (1 Euro-3.53 RON)

These moves against corruption prove convincing in Brussels, as the head of the Director-General for Enlargement within the European Commission, Michael Leigh.

He says in an interview with Cotidianul that the fight against corruption in Romania is pretty convincing for the European leaders, which makes him believe Romania will join the EU as scheduled in January next year.

Football is yet another major source of interest in today’s newspapers as the UEFA Cup quarterfinals between Bucharest-based clubs Steaua and Rapid are nearing. Small businesses will get some 10 billion Romanian lei from the sale of caps and gadgets on the days of the two matches, Adevarul forecasts.

The same newspaper says UEFA will keep a close eye on the sports events in Bucharest next week, where Steaua and Rapid officials are trying to prevent a possible violent confrontation between fans.

This comes as the leader of Staua fans, Gheorghe Mustata, and 13 other people faced a grilling yesterday under charges of robbery and blackmail in connection with several deals run by local underground bosses, according to Ziua and other media reports.