Last Sunday, news was released of ten players and staff from four different clubs in the top flight testing positive for Covid-19.
FC Porto and Sporting players have also expressed their grievances at aspects of the protocol put in place by the health authorities to resume the Primeira Liga.
After an announcement by Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, at the end of April, plans were drawn up to play the remaining ten rounds of the Primeira Liga and the Portuguese Cup final, beginning in the last weekend of May.
V.Guimarães was the first club to announce that three players had tested positive for Covid-19. “All the players in question are clinically well, asymptomatic and in isolation, have the support of the club, and in compliance with the guidelines from the Directorate-General of Health, the cases have been reported,” read a statement from the club. Then came the news that three players and two members of staff of Famalicão, one Moreirense player and one Benfica player had all tested positive for Covid-19 too.
Despite the confirmed cases, the president of the Portuguese professional footballers’ union, Joaquim Evangelista, believes it is still possible for the championship to resume as planned.
Whether the players want to play is another matter. Several high-profile players took to social networks to criticise the conditions and Code of Conduct imposed by the Portuguese Directorate-General of Health to regulate the restart of football in the country.
FC Porto trio Tiquinho Soares, Danilo and Zé Luís all posted messages expressing their disapproval with certain aspects of it. Soares chose to superimpose a black heart with the word “No” written in it, Danilo used a thumbs down emoji, while Zé Luís wrote “this can only be a joke”. Sporting midfielder Francisco Geraldes used the same means to criticise the rules.