PORTIMÃO: Stadium confusion

IT LOOKS increasingly likely that the Liga de Honra side Portimonense will have to vacate the stadium that they have occupied since 1937 this coming season. Although the land in the middle of Portimão’s city centre was originally purchased outright, rising debts during the 50s led to a sale and lease back arrangement. The situation has finally come to a head, after the imminent conclusion of a court case that has been under review since 1995. Development plans by the owners for the prime location property will force Portimonense to move to an alternative temporary site yet to be chosen. In the medium term, the club, which has ambitious plans for the future, will find a new home in Portimão’s new municipal sports complex – plans for which were approved at Câmara executive council level last week. The 30 million euro project will be constructed on a 37 hectare site between Aldeia das Sobreiras and Praia do Vau, on the city’s south western outskirts.

Team news

Defensive midfielder, Marco Abreu, has been signed from Olhanense, while Carlos Viana’s move from Chaves has met with contractual complications. Various key players already at the Club, including the influential striker Mateus, have renewed their contracts, but goal keeper Nuno Ricardo’s future still hangs in the balance. Former junior, Ruben, has been promoted to the senior squad. Latest news concerns Santa Clara’s right-sided midfielder, Vitor Silva, who has signed for one year with a further year’s option.

Farense: Good news, bad news

Faro’s former Superliga club, relegated from the third division at the end of this season, were granted a stay of execution by the Portuguese FA. At a disciplinary hearing, Beira Mar de Monte Gordo lost three points over the illegal use of an unregistered player, resulting in the re-instatement of the Algarve’s capital’s team. However, Farense’s future is once again threatened by looming debts, the sum of 400,000 euros currently outstanding. New coach and former star striker, Hassan, will only be able to commence his work under semi-professional conditions if Loulé’s administrative council finally gives the long awaited go ahead for the construction of a petrol station on club owned land that would bring in around five million euros.

Top action

Visitors and residents of the Algarve will be able to enjoy quality football all over the region during the next four weeks. It has been confirmed that West Bromwich Albion will be Benfica’s opponents on July 22, at 9.15pm, at Albufeira’s Municipal Stadium.

The Guadiana Tournament will see Sporting take on Middlesborough in Portimão on July 29, while the Portuguese and Spanish cup winners, Vitória de Setúbal and Betis Seville, will play each other the previous day in Ayamonte. On July 30, the Stadium of the Algarve in Faro hosts the final between the winners of the two matches as well as 3/4 place game (7.15pm. and 9.15pm).

It is the intention of the Algarve Football Association (AFA) to hold a regional competition on August 6 and 7, new president Viegas Ramos has announced. All Liga de Honra and Second Division B Clubs as well as an “Algarve Select” will be involved, with matches taking place in Olhão and Portimão on day one, and Loulé and Albufeira on day two. The tournament will be advertised as soon as possible.

Illustrious visitors

New Benfica coach, Ronald Koeman, was spotted attending a Manchester United training session last week. The Dutch master strategician has been a regular visitor to Vale de Lobo since the 80s and now has a villa under construction there, which is expected to be completed in Spring 2006.

Another part-time Algarve resident, Rui Costa, still active for AC Milan, was awarded the region’s tourism authority’s old Medal of Merit, in recognition of the player’s services to the Algarve (read article on page 5). Costa owns a villa near Loulé, but is best known for his involvement in Sotavento property development and the foundation of a football school for children.