COVID-19 venue news: Primeira Liga, FC Seoul, Lazio and more

Primeira Liga

Liga Portugal and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) have announced that nine stadia have been approved to stage matches when the top-tier Primeira Liga resumes on June 4.

Cidade do Futebol, Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, Estádio do Dragão, Estádio João Cardoso, Estadio José Alvalade, Estádio do Marítimo, Estádio Municipal de Braga, Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, and Portimão Estádio have all been cleared to host fixtures.

The announcement has been made after regional health authorities visited 15 stadia across Portugal. The FPF later said that Estádio do Paços de Ferreira has been approved to host Primeira Liga matches, bringing the total number to 10.

Liga Portugal said that Estádio do Bonfim, Capital do Móvel and Cidade de Barcelos, as well as the home grounds of Aves and Rio Ave, have been given a set of changes they must make before being inspected by the health authorities again to see if they can host matches.

The Primeira Liga has been suspended since March due to COVID-19 but Liga Portugal last week announced plans to resume on June 4.

FC Seoul

Korean K League team FC Seoul has been hit with a fine of 100 million won (£66,000/€74,000/$81,000) for placing life-sized dolls in the stands during a match at its empty stadium at the weekend.

The club was forced to apologise earlier this week after being accused of using sex dolls during the match against Gwangju FC.

The fine represents the largest ever financial punishment imposed on a club by the K League. The league said that FC Seoul had caused “grave damage to the image and integrity” of the competition and caused offence to female fans.

The club had insisted the dolls were “premium mannequins” but some fans noticed that they were advertising adult websites. The mannequins were supplied by Dalcom, which said that the x-rated adverts were from a sex toy company which places orders with Dalcom.

FC Seoul said it would “humbly accept” the fine.

Matches in the K League are currently going ahead without fans due to COVID-19 and FC Seoul had looked to fill the stadium with ‘fake’ spectators so the ground appeared more full.

Oakland Athletics

The company that operates the Oakland Coliseum has revealed that the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team is in no position to pay the annual rent fee to play at the stadium.

The Coliseum Authority had been due to receive the $1.2m (£980,000/€1.1m) annual fee from the A’s on April 1. However, Henry Gardner, the interim head of the Coliseum Authority, has confirmed that the A’s did not pay the fee.

The start of the 2020 MLB season was delayed due to COVID-19 and the A’s have said they are in no position to pay the lease as it is not generating sufficient revenue.

“They said because they haven’t used it, they were not able to generate revenue and they have no ability to pay,” Gardner said, according to the Mercury News newspaper.

“We recognise that we’ve all been upended in a number of ways. Maybe there are some things we are willing to negotiate and waive, but we can’t just say no rent.”

The team may be penalised for not paying the rent.

In a statement reported by the Associated Press news agency, the A’s said: “The A’s have fully supported the health directives and community efforts by the City of Oakland, Alameda County and the State.

“The A’s sent notice to the JPA (authority) in March stating the club is in support of these public health efforts and would defer annual rent payment, given the building was not available for use, per provisions in the contract. The A’s look forward to when the City and County feel it is safe to lift current directives, and the A’s are granted access to the facility to play baseball.”


Italian Serie A club Lazio is giving fans the chance to have a photo of themselves placed at the Stadio Olimpico when matches resume in empty stadia.

Lazio will set up a dedicated page on its website where fans can apply to take part in the initiative. A similar initiative has been proposed for German Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The Serie A season has been postponed since March 10 but it is hoped the league can resume on June 14 with matches behind closed doors.

“The club is thinking, with it looking increasingly likely that the season will resume, about giving fans the opportunity to be there (at the stadium) and show their support,” Stefano De Martino, Lazio’s director of communications, said. “Next week, the project will be active: we will give fans who want it the chance to be present at the stadium through their photo, which will be placed in their seat.”

SoFi Stadium

Guns N’ Roses and Tim McGraw have been forced to cancel scheduled concerts at SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers NFL teams which is due to open this summer.

Guns N’ Roses had been to perform at the venue on August 8, while McGraw was scheduled to play at the stadium on September 4.

The postponements will mean that NFL pre-season games will likely open the state-of-the-art stadium, which will have a capacity of 70,000.

SoFi Stadium had been due to open on July 25-26 with two Taylor Swift concerts but these have already been cancelled due to the pandemic. The Rams’ first regular-season game at the stadium will be against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13, with three pre-season encounters scheduled before this.

Image: Валерий Дед