Primeira Liga cancels plans for return of fans

Plans for fans to return for the final round of Portuguese Primeira Liga fixtures have been scrapped, the league’s governing body has announced.

It was announced last week that the final round of Primeira Liga matches, scheduled for today (Tuesday) and tomorrow, would go ahead with a limited number of fans.

However, this decision has been reversed by health authorities in Portugal due to the short time needed to formulate a clear plan for the return of fans. The decision has also been made in the interest of fairness, as half of the league’s teams would not have had the opportunity to welcome back fans.

Liga Portugal said in a statement: “In the uncertainty that remains about the conditions that the health authorities will be able to fix, it would be impossible to prepare an implementation plan within one day of the games.

“In addition to this ponderous reason, in addition to the situation defended by Liga Portugal, the penultimate matchday did not have an audience at the stadiums. Now, with several sporting objectives still open, allowing only some of the teams to have their fans present on this decisive day would constitute a serious distortion to the sporting truth and equity among the teams.”

The final of the Portuguese Cup on May 23 is also set to go ahead without fans but negotiations will begin regarding the return of supporters from the start of the 2021-22 season.

The decision to abandon the return of fans to league matches comes as Porto’s Estadio do Dragão prepares to welcome at least 12,000 supporters for the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City on May 29.

UEFA awarded Porto hosting rights last week after Turkey was added to the UK government’s red list of COVID-19 travel destinations. Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium was initially due to stage the final but UEFA opted to move the match to allow Chelsea and Manchester City fans to attend. Each club has been allocated 6,000 tickets

Porto was one of the clubs that had been hoping to welcome fans back this week but its match against Belenenses will go ahead behind closed doors.

Image: Mister No/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size