Diário As Beiras – Pandemia has already “silenced” almost 300 I Liga games

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The covid-19 pandemic was responsible, for a year, for the realization of almost 300 games of the I Liga without the usual ‘soundtrack’ of the fans in the stadiums, something unprecedented in the history of Portuguese football.

After stopping for three months last year, because of the new coronavirus, the I Liga returned in June and, already counting the 22nd round of the current edition, which takes place this weekend, a total of 283 games have already been played. played behind closed doors, that is, without applause, whistles or chants, which make up the 'music' of any football game across the planet.

A year ago, the Portuguese stadiums lost their ‘soundtrack’, which was replaced by the screams of players and coaches and the whistles of the referees, amid the pure silence that invaded the stands.

For a year, in games of the highest level, the Azoreans of Santa Clara were entitled to some support in their stadium, but even so in a very restrictive way, the same happened with Tondela and Farense, but only on one occasion.

The 1,924 spectators who were at the São Miguel Stadium, in Ponta Delgada, which has a capacity of 12,500, in the game Santa Clara-Sporting (1-2), of the fifth round, on October 24, 2020, represents the biggest 'flood' in the last year in first-tier games.

Before that, on October 3rd, in the first game with fans since the beginning of the pandemic, 873 fans went to support Santa Clara in the reception to Gil Vicente (0-0), while, more recently, at the end of February, already after the new wave of outbreaks, 924 people were in the micaelense enclosure in the triumph over Paços de Ferreira (3-0).

Still without imagining that there would be a new wave of covid-19 in the country, the fifth round of this season served even for the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP) to start two pilot tests on the return of the public to the games, with 860 people scoring presence at Estádio Algarve, in the match between Farense and Rio Ave (1-0), and 132 watching Tondela's home triumph over Portimonense (1-0), at João Cardoso Stadium.

In addition to the I League, the 2019/20 Portuguese Cup final, also known as the biggest party in Portuguese football, did not resist the pandemic and was played, between FC Porto and Benfica, completely behind closed doors, past the National Stadium, in Oeiras, the usual and historic stage, for Coimbra.

This season, the stage of the decisive game, between Benfica and Sporting de Braga, will again be the Cidade de Coimbra Stadium, this time due to the poor conditions of the venue located in the Jamor River valley.

Also the recent final stage of the League Cup, won by Sporting, took place without fans, in Leiria, after the LPFP had hoped for some spectators.

During the last year, the national team had ‘right’ to have some support in the stands, in games held in mainland Portugal, with the José Alvalade Stadium opening its doors, in a very limited way, in October 2020.

On the 7th, in a private match with Spain (0-0), 2,500 fans were in the 'Leonino' enclosure to support Portugal and, a week later, on 14, 5,000 were present in the triumph over Sweden (3-0), for the League of Nations.

The same scenario happened “outside” and in the main European leagues, although England, Germany and France advanced to the reopening of stadiums at the end of last year, in a very restrictive way, a situation that lasted for a short time due to the new wave of the covid- 19, which again closed Europe and most of the world in January.

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