The 2019/20 Primeira Liga will resume at the end of May, the Portuguese government announced this afternoon, amid a gradual reopening of most sectors of the economy in the country, which had been closed down by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government’s deconfinement plan stipulates that top flight football in Portugal shall resume on the weekend of 30/31 May.
The Portuguese Cup final between Porto and Benfica will also be played, but all football from the second division and lower down the pyramid has been cancelled this season.
“This return of football will only be for the Primeira Liga and with tight restrictions,” said the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa.
“The games will be played behind closed doors, with no spectators in the stands, whatever the stadium, be it a league match or the Portuguese Cup final.”
The announcement mirrors the plans put forward by the football authorities at the start of April to resume the season. However, certain conditions have to be met for the plans to become reality.
“This resumption is still dependent on the Directorate-General of Health approving the sanitary protocol presented by the Liga and assessment of whether the stadiums comply with all the conditions necessary to restart the competition,” added Costa.
The Primeira Liga was suspended on 12 March with 10 matches remaining of the 34-game season. FC Porto are top of the table, having clawed back a 7-point deficit to Benfica at the halfway stage.
Further down the league there is a fierce battle for Europa League qualification, while at the bottom Aves look doomed to relegation and Portimonense have much work to do if they are not to go down too.
Normally we would be looking forward to an exciting end of season, but all sport has taken a back seat in these unprecedented times and many believe Portugal should have followed the lead of countries such as the Netherlands and France, who have cancelled the 2019/20 season.
Is it weird for some leagues to finish and some not? Do we need unity so everyone can plan for the future together, or should each country try to find a way to play if possible?— S Gillen 🇵🇹 Portuguese Abroad (@SeanGillen9) April 28, 2020
What do you guys think?
Other nations, however, such as Germany, have rescheduled the remainder of the season.
Europe faces a crucial month as countries across the continent gradually attempt to get back to a semblance of normality. Despite the best-laid plans, how the Coronavirus pandemic plays out in the next few weeks will ultimately dictate if the hopes for finishing the 2019/20 Liga NOS season come to fruition or not.
by Tom Kundert