As well as protest banners appearing all over the area, the Algarve Football Association (AFA) has strongly supported the Olhão club’s campaign for justice following the Portuguese Football Federation’s (FPF) decision to promote Vizela and Arouca to the the Segunda Liga despite Olhanense having a better points-to-games ratio than Arouca.
The AFA says it understands that “this is a period of difficult resolutions and that, therefore, there must be a greater dialogue between all the parties involved”.
The six clubs of the Campeonato de Portugal most affected with the cancellation of the competition requested a meeting with Fernando Gomes, President of FPF, but on arrival at the Cidade do Futebol, Lisbon, were met by José Couceiro (National Technical Director), Carlos Lucas (Director of Competitions) and Luís Sobral (Deputy General Director).
Having travelled some 600kms, the group were unhappy that Fernando Gomes was not present and walked out of the meeting after just a couple of minutes.
Jorge Costa, the much respected former FC Porto and Portugal international who took Olhanense to the Primeira Liga in 2009, said: “I write a little with my heart, but also with reason. With my heart because Olhanense is a club where I was between 2008 and 2010, that I helped return to the top league after an absence of 35 years, a club from a friendly city that will stay forever in my heart, where I enjoyed one of the highlights of my career and where I still have friends that I will never forget. I also write with reason because I think that Olhanense, like other clubs that were in the same position, have been the victim of a decision that was at the very least surreal.”
The Olhanense playing squad has raised the question as to why only two of the four Division winners have been promoted. Whilst congratulating Moncarapachense and SC Farense on gaining promotion from their respective leagues, the players are baffled why, when they finished first in their Division, they and Praiense (Azores) are the only teams not to be promoted. In addition, the revamp of the Campeonato de Portugal from 72 to 96 teams could mean, theoretically, that Olhanense could end up in the fifth level of Portuguese football in sixth months’ time!
Sixty-nine captains of teams in the Campeonato de Portugal have addressed a letter to the president of the Portuguese Football Federation, Fernando Gomes, expressing their concerns with the cancellation of the competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Highlighting the apparent lack of support, the letter points out the economic impact on their lives and questions where the monies are that were raised by the National Team players, who donated part of their monetary prize for qualifying for the European Championship to help non-league players.
Manager moves on
Olhanense boss Felipe Moreira will next season manage SCU Torreense (Torres Vedras). The 55 year-old coach, who last season took Vilafranquense into the Segunda Liga, only joined Olhanense two weeks before football was suspended. He won both games to cement the team’s position at the top of Campeonato de Portugal Division D.
Olhanense’s 31-year-old wing-back Carlitos will be playing for Alverca next season. The Angolan international made 23 appearances during the current campaign.
By Chris Wright