Portimonense: bones of contention

Following last weekend’s end to the state of emergency, Portimonense, along with other clubs, resumed training on Monday for the first time since March 12.

All players, divided into two groups for morning and afternoon sessions at the thoroughly disinfected Dois Irmãos training facility, tested negative for covid-19, and are expected to return to competitive action over the May 30/31 weekend, subject to DGS national health authority approval.

The government’s eagerly anticipated decision to allow Portugal’s top division to conclude the 2019/20 season from the end of this month has, nonetheless, created some controversy.

For one, it yet has to be determined as to where the outstanding league matches are to be played, with ‘neutral’ venues in the less-affected Algarve having been put forward as a possibility. And then there is the ruling that all tiers of national football below the top level are in no condition to continue, relegation and promotion issues decided upon standings at the time the coronavirus stopped play – something hotly disputed by the clubs affected both in the second division and at regional level, many threatening to take legal action against the Portuguese FA (click here).

Portimonense directors have come out against this ruling, declaring themselves ‘very surprised’ and favouring a temporary ‘stocking up’ of the first division instead, adding that such a move is ‘unjust’ and against the spirit of ‘fair play’.

The Algarveans, currently 17th and second from last in the table, six points behind Paços de Ferreira, reckon that the pandemic has cost them €10 million in lost match day, sponsorship and advertising revenue as well as income from the potential transfer of players which were unable to go ahead.