Liga NOS resumes in late May and will be behind closed doors
Just like the midweek meeting that involved the top managers of Portuguese football, I foresaw that football will indeed return, but only for some, as was also suspected. Thus, only the Portuguese First League and the Portuguese Cup will be concluded.
MORE PROFESSIONALS THAN OTHERS
The decision announced yesterday by the Prime Minister António Costa realizing that only the Liga NOS and the Portuguese Cup will be played again until the end of the season again brought up an issue that I had already raised during the week. Portuguese football is one of the most polarized on the planet with three clubs deciding on the future of the events as if they were the only ones with responsibilities in our football.
Naturally, and without listening to clubs from other lower leagues, the decision ended up being limited to a resumption of Liga NOS at the end of May in order to allow the remaining ten rounds of the league to be held, as well as the Cup Final. from Portugal that will obviously oppose two great nationals, in this case FC Porto and Benfica – that is the only way to explain that the game will be played.
In light of this news, many Liga NOS clubs are already training or preparing to return to training, and all elements involved in this should be tested for Covid-19 before being released to the training camps of the respective clubs.
ALLOY (LITTLE) PRO…
This government decision did not reap many fans in the Pro League, the second division of our football, after all many teams were still looking to achieve their goals, in addition to hoping that any television broadcasts from the remaining matches would generate some return through broadcast rights.
Unfortunately, and as I had already warned you during the week, the main concern of the Government, the Portuguese Football Federation and the League of Clubs has always been to attend to the problems of the big players in Portugal, and not to all clubs and this has now become perfectly evident.
A player with a history in national football who even became a Portuguese international has already come to express his displeasure at what he considers to be ‘a shame and disrespect’. I speak of Edinho, striker who currently played for Cova da Piedade in the Pro League.
But he was not the only player to express his dismay at the lack of respect of the institutions responsible for most football professionals in Portugal, and also clubs like Clube Desportivo de Mafra have already shown their frustration considering that the club still dreamed of a possible promotion to Liga Nos this season.
HEALTH PROTOCOL ONLY FOR SOME
The League of Clubs drafted a health protocol with a view to the matches that will take place from the end of May, certainly indicating the necessary precautions to be taken such as the social distance between some players or the matches behind closed doors. But what is most astonishing is that the League has filed something that, apparently, only Liga Nos will be able to carry out in yet another demonstration that Portuguese football works at two speeds, largely driven by the interests of the biggest national clubs.
And if the Pro League could also be concluded when it was also ten games from its end, why not end the Championship of Portugal with a playoff among the best of each series in a competition that would have a maximum of eight teams and something like seven matches?
In fact, 90 football matches will be played for the Liga Nos to be concluded, but wouldn’t a playoff to eight in the Portuguese Championship be more easily feasible with matches at the National Stadium, for example, according to all health rules?
All of these are questions that apparently would be easy to answer, but apparently government and institutions responsible for sport have more to worry about, and it is true that what was imperative to satisfy a large part of the population would be to restart the First League since that is where Benfica, FC Porto and Sporting compete…
MORE THAN FIVE MONTHS WITHOUT COMPETITION
With this decision, Liga Pro, Campeonato de Portugal and other district and regional competitions will stay for more than five months without competing in a situation that can put many professional, semi-professional and even amateur players in serious financial difficulties.
Will the government intervene in this situation with support for clubs to allow them to continue paying salaries to their pupils? Well, let’s wait, but as I said above, I think the government has more to think about…. Regrettable!