Portuguese football has been given the green light to restart at the end of this month, reports have confirmed. Amid the government's announcement regarding the loosening of Portugal’s lockdown restrictions, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that top flight football games will be allowed to resume.
According to the PM’s announcement, Portuguese’s Primeira Liga will be allowed to restart on the 30th and 31st of May, with games being played behind closed doors. The Prime Minister has said, however, that the resumption of top flight football matches does still depend on Portugal’s health authorities approving the match day regulations that have been proposed. Stadiums will also have to meet strict hygiene standards and will be subject to inspections before each match. The specifics of how social distancing measures will be complied with on match days have not yet been officially announced, but they are expected to be similar to those presented in Germany for the proposed start of the Bundesliga.
Things are tight at the top of the Primeira Liga, so fans can expect a thrilling title race once matches resume. Porto are currently sitting just 1 point ahead of reigning champions Benfica with 10 games of the season left to play. The 2 title challenging sides have created a significant amount of daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack. 3rd placed Braga and 4th placed Sporting Lisbon are sitting 13 and 17 points off the pace respectively. At the opposite end of the table, bottom sides Deportivo Alves and Portimonense sit just 3 points apart, with just 13 and 16 points respectively.
The final of the Portuguese Cup, to be played between runaway title challengers Benfica and Porto, has also been given the green light to be played by the PM. The final was originally scheduled to be played on 24th May in the Estádio Nacional, on the outskirts of Lisbon. As the League isn’t scheduled to restart until the following weekend, that date is likely to be pushed back. No new date has been confirmed as of yet, but speculation points to a mid June final.
The Premeira Liga and the Portuguese cup are the only 2 sporting competitions to be exempt from the rule banning all professional sports that’s still set to remain in place. All other sporting competitions are to remain postponed until further notice, including the 2 lower leagues of the Portuguese footballing ladder. The Segunda Liga (2nd division) has not, as of yet, been given the green light, despite having an equally tight title race of its own. Algarve club Farense sit just 2 points behind league leaders C.D Nacional, who are situated in the island of Madeira, the birthplace of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Confirmation of the Portuguese Premeira Liga’s restart will no doubt come as good news to sports betting fans. After over 6 weeks of looking to places like Belarus and Tajikistan for their football fix, some slightly more familiar ground will surely be welcome.
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