Portugal football league to investigate Belenenses vs Benfica game abandoned due to COVID-19 outbreak

The Portuguese football league has announced that it will open an investigation to see whether Saturday’s game between Belenenses and Benfica complied with health protocols.

The game was abandoned minutes after the start of the second half after Belenenses was unable to field a team due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The presidents of Benfica and Belenenses said at a press conference after the match that they had to play the game or they would risk an “unwarranted absence”. They blamed the league for not allowing a postponement.

The Portuguese football league, however, told Lusa News Agency that an official request to postpone the match had not been received.

The league said it would launch an investigation into “adherence to health protocols.” The league board will discuss the situation on Monday.

A spokesperson for the DGS health authority told Reuters that it was not the health authority’s responsibility to postpone football matches but to assess the COVID-19 situation and put measures in place to stop the spread of the virus.

Belenenses reported a total of 17 positive COVID-19 cases and, before the game, was forced to name a team of nine players – including two goalkeepers – as all other players were isolating themselves.

At halftime, Benfica were leading 7-0. Belenenses then returned for the second half with just seven players.

The referee was forced to abandon the game when a Belenenses goalkeeper playing in midfield was unable to continue, leaving the hosts with just six players available. A minimum of seven players is required.

(Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP via Getty Images)

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