Operation ‘Off Side’ targets country’s top football clubs and personalities

Government hopes to see fans back in stadiums within weeks

Secretary of State for Sport João Paulo Rebelo says the government is working on restoring audiences to sporting fixtures. “The idea is that within weeks sport will have what is in its nature”, he told reporters – meaning the public will be able to return to stadiums “and other sporting arenas”.

“Obviously we are always dependent on the epidemiological evolution of the virus” he said, but the intention is there.

The Portuguese League of Professional Football has already published its phased plan for testing fans returning to the stadiums, but for the moment at least – with the exception of the autonomous region of the Azores – all football championships have started without the public on the benches. (In the Azores, games are going ahead with stadiums at 10% of capacity).