Isidoro Sousa, president of Sporting Clube Olhanense, has voiced serious doubts about the future of the club. With no income, including money from the cancelled weekly Bingo sessions, and unless financial support is forthcoming from other sources including the Portuguese football authorities, then the future looks bleak.
Sousa said: “Insolvency is more of a real threat as every day goes by.” Several other clubs in the Algarve are in difficulty due to current and future revenue shortfalls.
Joaquim Evangelista, head of the Portuguese professional footballers’ union, admits there is a chance the current season will not be completed. “I was more optimistic; now I’m more pessimistic. I initially believed that in May we could be competing again, but after listening to the health experts, I have my doubts. I hope football is back as soon as possible. Football is fundamental for the mental health of the Portuguese people. It’s a great escape and effective therapy.”
Evangelista added: “We all want to start up again, and return to normality as soon as possible, but this will only happen when the government and the health authorities give the green light. We do not want to create expectations about the resumption then let people down.”
Of the 72 clubs in the Campeonato de Portugal, there are 17 that are unable to pay players and staff their March wages whilst another 12 cannot fulfil all their financial commitments. More than 900 players in the Campeonato de Portugal (third tier) will not receive or will have their March salaries deferred.
By CHRIS WRIGHT