Olhanense, still none the wiser as to which league they will be playing, will gather at the José Arcanjo Stadium on Monday for medical checks and light training.
Under new manager José Carvalho Araújo, the former Braga U23 coach, the players will be eagerly awaiting news of whether they be plying their skills in the Segunda Liga or the Campeonato de Portugal. The club has announced they will be playing in the same kit as last season based on the shirts worn during their iconic 1923/24 campaign when they won the Portuguese Championship.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) issued a statement reiterating the uncertainty regarding the dates of the Campeonato de Portugal and the costs of the tests of screening for Covid-19. In the most optimistic scenario, it is envisaged the league won’t start before mid-September because the FPF is still waiting for the final decisions of the Court of Arbitration on the suspension of the promotion of Vizela and Arouca to the Segunda Liga and the question of the enforced relegation of V.Setúbal and Aves to the third tier.
It is only then that the 96 teams (eight divisions of 12) can be allocated a division depending on geographical criteria.
As for public health issues, the DGS health authority guidance currently in force (article 30/2020 of May 29; updated July 20) which does not allow amateur team sports in a formal competitive context – it only allows training with several limitations – can only proceed when a new directive is announced.
However, one thing is certain. If the future DGS standard imposes a protocol similar to the one existing in the two professional leagues, the cost would be around €200,000 per team. The COVID-19 tests and related safety requirements in the Campeonato de Portugal could cost in the region of €20 million. There is still no clarity regarding the way forward for regional and district football leagues, women’s football championships and youth team competitions.
By CHRIS WRIGHT