The succession of appeals presented by Portuguese football clubs in the courts may jeopardize the start of professional tests in September, expert Gonçalo Almeida defended Lusa today.
“In view of the normal deadlines, and even if the courts in question are quick to make decisions, there will never be a final judgment in all these cases before the start of competitions. We are facing a real legal imbroglio ”, considered the former FIFA lawyer and specialist in sports law.
Vitória de Setúbal and Desportivo das Aves failed on Wednesday the licensing requirements for the professional tests of 2020/21, with the Audit Committee of the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP) detecting three legal irregularities of the sadinos, while the northerners infringed others so many legal and 13 financial criteria.
The vetoes are subject to appeal in several instances, starting with the Justice Council of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), which has between 45 and 75 days to take a position on the requests that are submitted until Monday, although an eventual rejection must drag the process indefinitely.
The two clubs can also appeal to the Sports Arbitration Court (TAD), free of any decision period, and the Central Administrative Court, with 45 days to decide on an outcome that will benefit the Portimonense, demoted to the II Liga, Cova da Piedade and Casa Pia, invited to enter the professional exams.
“These teams were invited in strict compliance with articles 21 and 23. [ambos denominados “subidas e descidas”] of the LPFP Competition Regulation. There is nothing to say about this. We will be able to face possible actions to challenge resources in this regard, with or without suspensive effects ”, pointed out Gonçalo Almeida.
The candidacies admitted by the League include Vizela and Arouca, appointed by the FPF to ascend to the II League, as clubs with more points at the date of the suspension of the Championship of Portugal due to the covid-19 pandemic, a decision that TAD suspended in the Tuesday, following a precautionary measure brought by Olhanense.
Almost three weeks earlier, on July 8, the Central Administrative Court of the South issued a favorable opinion on the application submitted by Casa Pia, aiming at the suspension of the decision of the management of the LPFP taken on May 5, when it approved the final conclusion of the II League, demoting the 'geese' to the third tier of national football.
Cova da Piedade had an identical fate, whose opposition to the League decision, ratified in the General Assembly on June 8, went to the FPF on May 23, but the Justice Council declared itself incompetent to appreciate the protest of the emblem of Almada, referring him to TAD, which will also deliberate on Casa Pia's action.
“We are facing a series of lawsuits related to the challenge of suspension of the tests and the approved sports results. It is difficult, as of today and without any final decision on any of these decisions, to know what will happen as regards the start of official competitions and who will participate ”, insisted Gonçalo Almeida.
The kick-off of 2020/21 should take place in mid-September, a month and a half after the end of the current season, scheduled for Saturday, in Coimbra, with the duel between FC Porto and Benfica, in the final of the Portuguese Cup, and the lawyer anticipates “several months” of advances and judicial setbacks, “due to the complexity of the proceedings”.
“I don't do futurology. There are any number of dilatory files that can be used and several resources that can be brought. Although each court has indicative deadlines, it is also not bound by those same deadlines, ”he noted, admitting that the LPFP will be exposed to“ an extremely complicated situation ”.
Gonçalo Almeida believes that the “suspensive effects of these resources and everything else” may “hinder the taking of a position” by the body chaired by Pedro Proença, not least because “we cannot wait until January, February, March or whatever next year for the evidence starts and it is known who will participate in the I and II Leagues ”.
“What will be the most peaceful and simple solution? Extend competitions in terms of participants and include everyone. However, I do not think that is the criterion to be adopted. After all, this would allow defaulters to benefit, ”he concluded.