Football game abandoned after Covid leaves just six players for Belenenses


Image: BFC

The match of Benfica vs Belenenses was called off on Saturday 27 November after a Covid outbreak in one of the teams left the team with just six players on the pitch. A player from Belenenses tested positive after returning from South Africa, and 16 of his colleagues also returned a positive result. 

Both teams had reported that they did not want the game to go ahead but they were made to play by the league. League leaders Benfica faced off against Belenenses who are up for possible relegation. Belenenses were only able to field a team by having their goalkeeper play outfield, and this still left them two short and seven goals down by half-time. 

After the break, Belenenses returned with only seven men. Shortly after the game restarted, Jaoa Monteiro, the goalkeeper playing outfield, sat down and said he was unable to continue. With less than the minimum number of players needed for the game to continue, the referee called off the match, but the 7-0 result has been recorded. 

In a post on social media after the game, the Belenenses players said: “Football only has heart if it is competitive. Football only has heart if it is really sporting. Football only has heart when it is an example of public health. Today, football lost its heart.”

Club president Rui Pedro Soares said: “In the middle of the afternoon we communicated to the Liga that we didn’t want to play the game.

“We had eight players who could attend the game and as such, they told us that if we didn’t attend the game it would be unjustified absence.

“Playing here today was a shame for all of us.”

Benfica president Rui Costa said: “We did not like to enter the pitch under these conditions.

“Benfica was forced to do it like Belenenses. I regret what happened today, a dark chapter for Portuguese football and for the country itself.”

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Written by

Claire Gordon