Portuguese clubs hit out at farcical planning over final fixtures
Portuguese clubs hit out at farcical organisation with teams not told when they are playing final fixtures until less than ONE day before matches were scheduled… and teams are raging over U-turn on fans returning
- Clubs complained they could not book travel nor hotels due to planning chaos
- Portuguese league finally confirmed fixtures on Monday afternoon
- Pacos de Ferreira had barely 24 hours to get to their match at Tondela
- Belenenses struggled to book their hotel for game at Porto due to the chaos
Clubs in Portugal’s top flight have been ‘left in despair’ with the farcical organisation surrounding the final week of the season, according to reports, with the travel plans of several teams thrown into chaos as they did not know when their games were due to kick off until late notice.
Sporting Lisbon may have already clinched the title but there is still plenty to play for in the top-flight, with seven of the nine games in the final round of fixtures affecting either the battle to avoid relegation or the push for European football.
Teams’ preparations were rocked by the bungling organisation, with Portuguese website Maisfutebol saying some teams did not know when they would be able to book transport or hotels less than a day before the games were due to kick off.
Sporting clinched the title but teams are still fighting to avoid relegation and get into Europe
Sporting play Maritimo on Thursday but only learned the date of the game on Monday
The fixtures were finally announced on Monday afternoon, leaving Pacos de Ferreira barely a day to organise their trip to Tondela on Tuesday.
Belenenses, who are facing Porto away from home on Wednesday, were unable to book their hotel as they could not say when the squad was due to check in.
The Portuguese league is responsible for scheduling the games but organises fixtures in agreement with rights holders Sport TV, and the report in Maisfutebol said the fixtures were supposed to have been confirmed by Monday morning.
The league’s last-minute scheduling was fiercely criticised by Portuguese football fans and pundits on social media.
Clubs were also left perplexed by the league organisers making a second U-turn on the return of fans.
Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa had said in April that supporters would not be allowed at matches for the remainder of the campaign due to coronavirus restrictions.
The late scheduling meant Tondela had one day to prepare for a game with Pacos de Ferreira
Porto’s Estadio do Dragao will welcome fans for the Champions League final on May 29
But the Portuguese league then announced in May that a limited number of spectators could attend the final round of matches, just as it was revealed that the Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City was being moved from Istanbul to Porto and would host 12,000 fans.
But that announcement angered the teams who were set to play their last game of the domestic season away from home as they felt they would be at a disadvantage.
And less than a day before some fans were due to return, the Portuguese league said in a statement that the plans had been shelved due to “uncertainty” about health authorities’ requirements, adding it would be “impossible” to implement a plan for supporters’ safe return so close to the matches.
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