Extraordinary meeting of the Professional League, criticism of the leaders of the big clubs: the day after the Belenenses-Benfica match abandoned while the small Lisbon club, ravaged by the Covid-19, could only align nine players, before being reduced at ... six, Portugal and the sports authorities want to understand how this meeting could be maintained.
", headline on Sunday sports daily A Bola, believing that the public attended "
a match that should never have taken place
", while Record, the other major sports daily, proclaims that football "
has hit rock bottom
”. The Jogo newspaper qualifies for its part this match of "
A shameful spectacle in the Jamor stadium which has written one of the darkest pages in the history of Portuguese football
”, underlines the sports newspaper.
It is the daily Jornal de Noticias which best sums up this meeting with an implacable formula: "
Eleven against nine and in the end it is football that loses
Counting for the 12th day of the Portuguese Championship, the match between the leader Benfica and Belenenses, 16th, was to be a formality for the "Eagles" to the 37 national titles.
Indeed, Benfica were leading 7-0 when the game was interrupted early in the second half, but Belenenses could not compete.
The modest team from the Belem district in Lisbon found itself in a gruesome situation: it was deprived of fourteen players because of the Covid-19, as well as its coach and several members of its technical staff. To challenge one of the giants of Portuguese football, Belenenses started several young players from his reserve team and had to reposition a 20-year-old goalkeeper as ... improvised striker.
After the break, the meeting sank into absurdity and ridicule: led 7-0, only seven Belenenses players had the courage to return to the pitch. After the suspicious injury of one of them, the referee had to whistle the early end of the match in accordance with the rules of the championship when a team is reduced to six players.
After the match, the president of Belenenses Rui Pedro Soares assured that he had requested the Portuguese League to obtain the postponement of the match: "
we were told that with eight players
" the match could be maintained, under penalty of sanctions for the team, he explained at a press conference.
An official of the League quoted in the local media explained to have had a telephone contact with the president of Belenenses, but he specifies not to have received a "
" to postpone this meeting, so that the Liga was not able to analyze the situation. The decision to maintain the meeting with so many unavailable players has been unanimously criticized by the big clubs.
Sporting Portugal considered for its part that this episode was detrimental to "
the credibility of the
" which "
will be difficult to be taken seriously
", while the communication director of FC Porto regretted that Portugal returned an image "
From third world countries
Extraordinary meeting this Monday
La Liga, which called an extraordinary meeting for Monday, seized the disciplinary council of the Portuguese Football Federation and also called for an "
" with the State Secretariat for Health and the health authorities in order to obtain information "
clear on the emergency protocol
" in force in the competitions.
It remains to be seen how, while Portugal, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, last week announced several measures to curb the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic, such a hotbed of contamination could have developed. within Belenenses.
The Portuguese media recalled that the South African international defender Thibang Phete had traveled for matches with his selection in South Africa, the country where the new Omicron variant has been identified.