‘Discrimination’ impedes new team

Algarve United Football Club have now played their first game of the season against Faro based 11 Esperanças and won 1 – 3. But in what members of the team believe to be blatant discrimination, three of the players were unable to take part in the match.

According to Algarve United’s manager, Corado Corregi, when a football club is still at amateur level, only one foreigner is allowed to play in each game. This is problematic for Corregi, as Algarve United’s goalkeeper, Igor Lambim, is Angolan, one of the midfielders, Allison Aruda, is Brazilian and two of his strikers, Danny and Ben Robinson, are English, though both were born in the Algarve. Their father, Andy, runs a sports centre in Burgau and their mother, Judith, works as a teacher at Barlavento School. Having been educated here, Ben and Danny consider themselves Portuguese, they have never lived in the UK and they feel they are being discriminated against. “I have always experienced problems when trying to play football in the Algarve,” explains Danny “however I am a resident and, as Portugal is part of the EU, I don’t understand why as I am only English by parentage, we are not allowed to play in an Algarve team.”

Danny works as a junior maintenance manager at Boavista golf course and believes that as a hard working taxpayer he should be afforded the same rights as any other Portuguese citizen. “Both my brother and I feel totally unjustly treated.”

Corado Corregi is currently appealing against the rules, which have been put in place by the Portuguese Football Association. He argues that at professional level, the number of foreigners allowed per team is far higher than at amateur level and this is unfair and limiting for all the international footballing talent across the Algarve. “At the moment, they are only allowed to play in friendlies – this has to change,” he says.

Until Corregi receives a response from the Portuguese Football Association about these restrictive laws, his three ‘foreign’ players will be forced to continue to sit out every match. Danny explained that because the club has only one competent goalkeeper, Igor plays every game as the one foreigner in the team and Danny, his brother Ben and Allison just sit at the sidelines offering moral support.

“I understand that with non-EU players certain rules have to be put in place,” comments Danny. “However, within the EU this should not be happening. Although our parents are not Portuguese, we feel just as much a part of this country as everybody else that lives here and pays their taxes.” The Algarve United team members will continue to contest this rule and are hoping that all their ‘foreign’ players will soon be able to join the team in competition matches.