general news - 2004



Luís Campos, previously of Gil Vicente and Vitóriua de Setúbal, among others, is the new coach of Beira-Mar.


Czech coach Jozef Chovanec has done an about-face with respect to the coaching job at Beira-Mar. Although a contract had not actually been signed, he was fully expected to arrive over Christmas to take the reins of the team left by Manuel Cajuda. However, his non-appearance has caused the Beira-Mar board to officially dispense with his services, as well as those of his assistant coach, the Bulgarian Mladenov, who did turn up on time but whom the board did not think it wise to invite to carry out the functions of main coach. The club is set to announce a new coach Tuesday.


Nelo Vingada has been named to replace João Carlos Pereira, sacked this week from Académica. Vingada has spent a successful spell recently at Zamalek of Egypt.


The Minister of Finance, Bagão Félix, a former director of Benfica, said Wednesday that action will be taken to force clubs to pay their tax and social security debts, a total of around 20 million euros. The Minister pointed out that it was not on that clubs could be preparing to buy players during the transfer window in January while these debts are still outstanding, and he warned that measures taken to force payment could include the seizing of players' passes.

Benfica are hoping that they will enter the Guiness Book of Records for the number of Father Christmases gathered in one place. With the help of Coca Cola and Sicasal (a company of cold meats), 12,352 Santas were in the stands at Benfica's home game against Penafiel Saturday. The previous record had been fewer than three thousand. The club is waiting for confirmation from the Guinness judges.


João Carlos Pereira is the latest coach to lose his job in the SuperLiga. His Académica, one of the Portugese históricos, are currently second from bottom with only three wins out of fifteen.

Meanwhile, Beira-Mar have announced who will replace coach Manuel Cajuda, who rescinded last week. In fact they have appointed two coaches: Josef Chovanec (Czech) and Stoycho Mladenov (Bulgarian). President Mano Nunes has promised a clear out of the squad during the transfer window, and also promised that he would resign if the team didn't come above tenth in the SuperLiga. They are currently third from bottom, five points adrift of tenth place.

Deco of was seventh in the FIFA World Player rankings announced Monday. The trophy was won by Deco' teammate at Barcelona, the Brazilian Ronaldinho. Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and Luís Figo of Real Madrid were the other Portugese on the list, 13th and 15th respectively.

When Santos were crowned Brasileirão Champions at the weekend, three players playing for Portuguese clubs were particularly happy as they had been a part of the campaign earlier in the season before transferring to Portugal. They were Diego of FC Porto and Paulo Almeida and Alcides of Benfica.

The last day of thr Brasileirão also saw the retirement of an old favourite from Benfica, the former Brazilian international Valdo. The midfielder, 40 (!), helped his side Botafogo avoid relegation. "One day I'm going to coach Benfica," he told A Bola. He will retire to Portugal.


Portugal has nine players and one coach in the 60 on UEFA's short list to be voted the top in Europe in 2004 (, [apart from players of other nationalities who are currently playing in Portugal]:

Goalkeeper: Vítor Baía (FC Porto)
Right back: Miguel (Benfica), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea) [and Seitaridis (FC Porto)]
Central defender: Jorge Andrade (Dep. Coruña), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
Left back: [Fyssas (Benfica)]
Right midfield: Figo (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Central midfield: Maniche (FC Porto)
Offensive midfield: Deco (Barcelona)
Coach: José Mourinho (Chelsea)

José Eduardo Simões beat Maló de Abreu to become president of struggling SuperLiga club Académica Friday, succeeding João Moreno, who died in October.

Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, president of FC Porto, has seen his recently published autobiography selling like hotcakes. 'Long Days are a Hundred Years Long' has sold 50,000 copies in Portugal in a matter of weeks and has now been translated into English.

The Portuguese Football Federation announced Friday the Portuguese referees and linesmen recognised by FIFA for 2005:

Referees: Lucílio Baptista / Paulo Costa / António Costa / Paulo Paraty / Olegário Benquerença / Pedro Proença / João Ferreira / Duarte Gomes / Bruno Paixão

Linesmen: Paulo Januário / José Cardinal / Devesa Neto / António Perdigão / Bertino Miranda / Serafim Nogueira / José Ramalho / João Santos / Sérgio Lacroix

Benfica's recent performances have not pleased their demanding fans, and there was abuse hurled at the players by onlookers Thursday during their training session at the National Stadium.


Beira-Mar coach Manuel Cajuda has rescinded amicably with the club. He took over from Mick Wadsworth two months ago, but the team's record has been a poor one: won one, drawn four and lost five. The goalkeeping coach Paulino Silva will take over as caretaker.


There were five Portuguese players in the final classification for France Football's Golden Ball for the best player in Europe, which went to Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) of the Ukraine. Deco (FC Porto/Barcelona) was second with 139 points behind Shevchenko's 175. Ricardo Carvalho was 9th with 18, Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) 12th equal with 11, Luís Figo (Real Madrid) 22nd with 4 and Maniche (FC Porto) 24th wth 2.

There were hundreds of FC Porto fans at the airport Monday to welcome their team back from their triumphant visit to Japan at the weekend.

Maniche, named Man of the Match and presented afterwards with a gigantic key, which was for a Japanese make of car, will donate it or its value to charity.

Young Brazilian midfielder Diego was sent off during the penalty shoot out for 'provocative' conduct when he went up to Once 'keeper Henao and exchanged words, a throwback to the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores when Once knocked out Diego's then club Santos. Diego will miss FC Porto's first game in the knock-out stage of the Champions League in February of next year.

Vítor Baía will undergo tests to ascertain the true extent of the problem that caused him to collapse and be substituted by Nuno during extra time of Sunday's Intercontinetal Cup Final against Once Caldas in Yokohama, Japan. The ´keeper's collapse was put down to tachycardia.


FC Porto won their second Intercontinental Cup Sunday (their first was in 1987 against Peñarol of Uruguay) when they beat Colombian side Once Caldas 8-7 on penalties. After 120 minutes, the scoresheet was blank, but not because Porto didn't try. They hit the bar four times, and Benni McCarthy had two goals disallowed for offside, the first marginal, the second definitely not.

From the outset, it was clear that Once were only interested in defending, and their counter-attacks were ineffectual. It's not hard to imagine that they did in fact have their eye on the penalty shoot-out throughout, banking on the excellent ´keeper Henao to be their match-winner. It didn't work like that. Neither 'keeper (Nuno in the other goal, on in the first period of extra time for a mysteriously injured Baía) saved a penalty, but in the first series of ten, Maniche (official Man of the Match) and Fabbro both hit the woodwork. Then Garcia lofted one over the bar in the sudden death phase, and Pedro Emanuel stepped up to stroke the winner past a disconsolate Henao.

The only team that had played to win had won, and justice was done.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía (Nuno) Seitaridis, Jorge Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Ricardo Costa; Costinha, Diego, Maniche, Derlei (Caros Alberto), McCarthy, Luís Fabiano (Quaresma).

Once Caldas: Henao, Rojas, Cambindo (Cataño), Vanegas, Garcia, Velasquez, Fabbro, Viafara, Soto (Alcazar), Arango (Diaz), De Nigris.


While FC Porto were triumphantly qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League Tuesday, their president, Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, was being questioned in Gondomar, near Porto, on suspicion of various counts of corruption. He left the court just as Porto were clinching qualification with a 2-1 win over Chelsea, but his satisfaction at the result will have been tempered by the charges he is now facing, including: corruption in sport and involvement in forgery of documents. He was freed on bail of 125,000 euros and will be allowed to travel with the team to Japan for the Intercontinental Cup Final against Once Caldas at the weekend.


Paulo Diogo, a Portuguese emigrant playing for Swiss club Servette, had a finger amputated Sunday after he caught it in a fence during the celebration of his team's 4-1 win over Shafthausen.


FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has been questioned by the Portuguese fraud squad with respect to a possible involvement in corruption within the game. The so-called 'Golden Whistle' affair is an on-going investigation by the authorities into possible bribery of referees, among other offences. Also questioned this time around were two referees, Augusto Duarte and Jacinto Paixão, and an agent, António Araújo, who has worked closely with FC Porto to bring some Brazilian players to the club. The Apito Dourado scandal hit the headlines first eight months ago with the arrest of the then president of the Liga and former Boavista president Valentim Loureiro.

Saturday saw the launch of Pinto da Costa's autobiography Largos Dia Têm Cem Anos ('Long days are a hundred years long') at FC Porto's Estadio do Dragão.


Portugal lost 1-3 to eternal rivals Spain Wednesday to go out of the Futsal World Cup taking place in Taiwan.

FC Porto dropped two places in the IFFHS ranking of top clubs in the world for the month of October. They are now 15th in a list topped by Spanish club Valencia.

Deco and Benni McCarthy both scored in the 'game against AIDS', played in Barcelona Tuesday. For the record, Barcelona beat an All-Stars team 4-3.



LeiriSport, the company that runs the Municipal Stadium in Leiria, has refused to accept any responsibility in the death of the Benfica fan who fell from the second tier of the stand during the UDL v Benfica game Sunday and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards in hospital. The company claims that all necessary safety measures were met.


A Benfica fan died Sunday when he fell from the second tier of the Muncipal Stadium in Leiria in the first half of Benfica's 1-0 defeat against União.

The Portuguese Minister of Sport resigned Sunday, just a week after being appointed in a cabinet shake-up. Henrique Chaves held a controversial meeting with the president and officals of Benfica earlier in the week, widely seen as the powerful club trying to gain influence, especially in terms of refereeing. But Chaves said subsequently he had not thrown the tape of a recent game, presented to him by Benfica, out of the window "merely as a matter of courtesy". His resignation is seen as a sign of instability in the Governemnt.


The Ukrainian who stabbed an English fan to death in Lisbon during the EURO 2004 Championship has been sentenced to 13 years' prison by a Lisbon court.


The president and directors of Benfica requested a meeting with the Portuguese Government and they had it Monday, talking, amongst other things, about the refereeing in the Portuguese league. There has been some criticism of the move, seeing it as trivial when there is so much fundamental work that needs doing in Portugal.


At an EGM Friday, Vitória de Guimarães shareholders heard some pretty horrible news: the club is 12 million euros in the red, it needs five million just to get through the season and has 107 euros in its current account. Shareholders are blaming former club president Pimenta Machado for the mess.


Five Portuguese players are on the (long) short list for the France Football Golden Ball as best player in Europe: Deco (Barcelona), Figo (Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Maniche (FC Porto) and Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea). Another player playing in Portugal, the Greek full back Seitaridis of FC Porto, is also on the list. Two Portuguese players have won the award before: Eusébio in 1965 and Luís Figo in 2000. The winner will be named on 14 December.


Benfica's Nuno Gomes, involved in a nasty clash with Vitória de Setúbal ´keeper Marco Tábuas during Sunday's game, has only sprained his knee and will not after all need surgery, but he may be out for up to a month.

Augusto Inácio, who only a few seasons ago coached Sporting to their first title in 18 years, has left Qatar side Al-Ahly only seven games into the season after four defeats and three draws.


According to the Jornal de Negócios, a national business paper, Benfica are negotiating to sell the rights to future match and advertising receipts to aid current cash flow.

Luís Figo celebrated his 32nd birthday Thursday.

FC Porto coach Víctor Fernandez has been banned from the bench for two weeks following excessive protests during the cup game at Vitória de Guimarães last week.


Salgueiros, a team from Porto, were until relatively recently ever-present in the SuperLiga, but they have fallen on hard times. Wracked by financial and administrative problems, the team are rooted at the bottom of the Segunda B (third division) with no points from nine games and a goal record of five for, 37 against. This weekend, the club's juniors were massacred 0-10 at home to top team Vizela.



Luís Campos resigned as Gil Vicente coach Thursday after a poor start to the season which sees the team planted firmly at the bottom of the SuperLiga. The last straw, though, was the Cup defeat at the hands of Odivelas of the Segunda B. Campos handed in his resignation and it was accepted by the Board, who have since named Ulisses Morais as Campos' successor. Morais brought Estoril back to the SuperLiga this season but left under a cloud before the season began.


Académica president, João Moreno, died Saturday after a long illness. He had been in hopital since October 2003.


FC Porto 'plc' announced a profit of 24.8 million euros for the year July 2003-July 2004. This compares with a loss during the previous year of 18.1 m euros. Reasons for the result were an increase of 65% in gate money, improved marchandising receipts, success in Europe, which gave a gross revenue of 25.1 m euros for the year, and a net profit from transfers of 49.8 m euros.


Luís Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco are all in the list of 35 players who can win FIFA's 'Player of the Year' award. The award will be presented in Zürich on 30 December, but the list will be whittled down to three in the middle of November. Luís Figo won the award in 2001.

The full list:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Deco (Barcelona)
Luis Figo (Real Madrid)
Adriano (Inter Milan)
Roberto Ayala (Valência)
Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich)
Milan Baros (Liverpool)
David Beckham (Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Cafú (AC Milan)
Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
Samuel Etoo (Barcelona)

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus)
Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich)
Kaká (AC Milan)
Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Henrik Larsson (Barcelona)
Roy Makaay (Bayern Munich)
Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
Pavel Nedved (Juventus)
Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan)
Michael Owen (Real Madrid)
Robert Pires (Arsenal)
Raúl (Real Madrid)
Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid)
Ronaldinho (Barcelona)
Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Andrei Shevchenko (AC Milan)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
Theodoros Zagorakis (Boloña)
Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)



Portuguese coach Manuel Cajuda, recently sacked by Marítimo, will be the new coach at Beira-Mar, who saw English coach Mick Wadsworth resign Monday. José Alberto Costa, Wadsworth's assistant, will not continue.

Benfica's Brazilian defender Argel and compatriot, the midfielder Everson, were caught up in a nasty incident in training Monday: Everson lunged at Argel from behind, Argel fell to the ground, got up, picked the ball up and rifled it straight at Everson. As with everything to do with Benfica, it was all caught on camera and broadcast on all the news bulletins. Benfica's Director of Football José Veiga treid to play the incident down: "It's a good sign- it shows they're training aggressively."


Englishman Mick Wadsworth has resigned as Beira-Mar coach after just four games of the SuperLiga, citing personal reasons. The team have had a mixed start to the season, but looked to be improving and are in mid-table with six points from two wins. It was Wadsworth's first season in Portuguese football, and he leaves two compatriots at the club: McPhee and Murray. It is believed that assistant coach José Alberto Costa will take over until a permanent replacement has been found.


The head of the Sporting Braga claque Red Boys, responsible for trouble on the terraces during Monday's game with Vitória de Guimarães, apologised Wednesday for the behaviour of some of the elements of the claque, saying that these will be expelled. The Sporting Braga administration, who met with representatives of this claque and the Bracara Legion Wednesday, have promised reprisals if the incidents (the throwing of stones out side the ground, seats inside, skirmishes with the police) are repeated. The claques (fan groups) in Portugal enjoy a wide range of benefits from clubs, like subsidies for tickets and banners, free transport to away games, etc.

UEFA are seeking to redefine regulations for the use of 'foreign' players in club squads. The proposal on the table is for a squad to have a limit of 25 players. For each game, 18 can be called up,a nd of those 18, seven or eight must have been born in the country in which the club competes [although there are exceptions to this latter rule]. These proposed restrictions are likely to come up against resistance from the EU, where the free movement of labour is a cornerstone of the community philosophy.

In Portugal, each club can register six players of 'foreign' nationality, although only four can play at the same time. However, Brazilian players can acquire dual nationality with some facility and thus escape this particular restriction, although they would not do so if UEFA's proposed regulations come into force.

Portugese SuperLiga clubs have 'foreigners' registered as follows:

14 - Beira-Mar, Nacional, Estoril
12 - Benfica
11 - Sporting, Marítimo, Rio Ave, Boavista, Belenenses
10 - União de Leiria, Académica, Vitória de Guimarães, Penafiel
9 - Sporting Braga, Gil Vicente, Vitória de Setúbal
8 - FC Porto
4 - Moreirense

[A Bola]


A phone survey of football fans made by the TV channel TVI found that 80% did not think José Peseiro was up to coaching Sporting. The survey followed a poor start to the season and a 0-1 home defeat at the hands of Marítimo.


TV reporters and cameramen belonging to channels RTP and SIC were assaulted by Boavista fans as they left the Bessa Stadium after the Boavista v Vitória de Setúbal game Friday. The fans were angry at the bad press the team have been getting at the beginning of the season. The Boavista administration offered a public apology to the victims on their website Saturday.


The three Nacional players arrested Sunday night after a fight with police (see 14/09 below) claimed Tuesday that it was the police who had started the trouble and that they had tried to plant drugs (coacaine and ecstasy) on the players in the bathroom of a night club in Funchal. At a press conference, the players showed their cuts and bruises from the alleged mistreatment by the police. Argentinian defender Ávalos, spokesman for the three, said "We don't need drugs for anything." The club claims to have done drug tests on the players and found nothing.

Later in the day, the police responded, saying that they had come across the players in the bathroom, in possession of five grammes of cocaine and some ecstasy. The players had allegedly tried to pour the cocaine out on the floor, and when the police stepped in, the players attacked the police.

The Police Union issued a statement: "Surprise, surprise. After attacking an officer of the PSP [general police], who had duly identified himself, and then attacking the officers who went to help him, three Nacional players give a press conference and try to make it look like they're the victims."


Manuel Fernandes is no longer coach at Penafiel.after resigning Monday. Penafiel, newly promoted, have had a disastrous start, with no points won, one goal scored and seven conceded. Fernandes is the fourth coach to leave his club, and the SuperLiga is only two games old.

Three Nacional players were arrested Sunday night after trouble in a Funchal (Madeira) nightclub. Ávalos, Fábio Santos and Ferreira were released Monday after identification. They can travel to Seville for Thursday's UEFA cup tie but will have to report first to the police.


FC Porto claque ['fan group'] Os SuperDragões said Sunday that the death threats José Mourinho received at the end of his time at the club came from a member of, but not on behalf of, the claque. Representatives of the claque said that the calls were in response to messages that the member's girlfriend had received from José Mourinho. [A Bola]

Mariano Barreto is the new coach of Marítimo, taking over from Manuel Cajuda, sacked last week after just one SuperLiga game. Barreto was formerly national coach of Ghana.


Benfica are going through a minor crisis. The sports daily O Jogo has reported that the technical team of Giovanni Trapattoni and the Portuguese Álvaro Magalhães are badly prepared after the TV coverage of the team's game against Beira-Mar at the weekend apparently caught them demonstrating that they were unaware of the characterisitcs of a substitute for Beira-Mar, Pablo. Both have been quick to deny any negligence of 'intelligence' gathering.


Benfica are holding back the bonus that the players were due for securing second place in the SuperLiga last year (75,000 euros) because the team did not manage to qualify for the Champions League this year. The club is also seeking to cut back on the bonus due for winning the Taça de Portugal (20,000 per player).


Marítimo have parted company with coach Manuel Cajuda after only one SuperLiga game, which the Madeiran side lost 0-3 at Belenenses. Marítimo are in the UEFA Cup and will play Glasgow Rangers in the first round.



Estrela da Amadora played their away game at Ovarense in the Liga de Honra (second division) Sunday with just one substitute on the bench after a bureaucratic oversight.


Former FC Porto (now Barcelona) midfielder and Portuguese international Deco was named European Player of the Year by UEFA Thursday. He was also named best midfielder, Vítor Baía best goalkeeper and Ricardo Carvalho (now at Chelsea) best defender. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl picked a special award for Portugal's excellent organisation of Euro 2004.


Estoril Praia have parted company with coach Ulisses Morais. Morais, who brought Estoril back to the Superliga after a ten-year hiatus, is the second coach to go before the season has even got under way, the first being Luigi del Neri at Porto. Assistant coach Litos will take over at Estoril, at least for the time being.

Académica may be without a fixed stadium for up to four months, according to experts who have studied the pitch of the Coimbra Municipal Stadium (used at Euro 2004). The grass has apparently been destroyed by a fungus (as was evident during the weekend's Supertaça game between Benfica and FC Porto) and needs time to be treated.


Benfica will open up the Estádio da Luz to visitors as from Monday. Times of visits, on weekdays, are 10.00, 11, 12, 15 16 and 17, except when there are closed training sessions and on match days.

Benfica midfielder Manuel Fernandes, 18, has renewed his contract with the club until 2010.


FC Porto won their first trophy of the season Friday, beating arch rivals Benfica 1-0 in the SuperTaça (the winners of the Championship versus the winners of the Cup last season) at the Municipal Stadium in Coimbra in front of 22,000. Benfica had the better of the first half but failed to capitalise on chances created, whereas Porto shaded the second half and took advantage of their best chance on 56 minutes, Quaresma latching onto an exquisite through ball from Carlos Alberto, leaving Argel for dead with a shimmy and rifling his shot past Quim.

A factor in the less than fluid football on show was the appalling state of the pitch, incredible given that a matter of weeks ago this stadium was a venue at Euro 2004. It looked like no one had bothered with it since then, with great swathes of bare ground where grass should be. In fact the Football Federation had suggested beforehand that the match might be postponed or shifted to another venue, but both clubs agreed to go ahead with the game.

The teams lined up:

FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Seitaridis, Ricardo Costa, Pedro Emanuel, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Hugo Leal, Diego (César Peixoto, 22), Ricardo Quaresma (Bosingwa, 61), Carlos Alberto, McCarthy (Hélder Postiga, 77).

Benfica: Quim, Miguel, Luisão, Argel, Dos Santos, Paulo Almeida (Bruno Aguiar, 66), Petit, João Pereira (Everson, 85), Zahovic (Karadas, 60), Simão, Sokota.


Luigi del Neri, sacked recently by FC Porto, spoke to the Italian press Tuesday about his bitterness at the way he was treated by the club and vowed to claim all the money that he is entitled to from the dismissal. He said that his removal was a result of Porto's fear of change after previous coach Mourinho's success over the last two seasons.

Boavista midfielder Toñito was verbally and physically attacked by two individuals Tuesday as he left the Bessa after training. The Spaniard was the perpetrator of a dangerous tackle in Sunday's 'friendly' with FC Porto that has put FC Porto forward Derlei out of action for around a month. The two attackers are thought to have been Porto fans.

Luís Pedrosa, former Sporting and Boavista midfielder, has taken over from Norton de Matos as Salgueiros coach. The club was recenlty demoted from the Liga de Honra to the Segunda B for an unpaid debt to the Liga dos Clubes.


FC Porto striker Derlei is likely to be out for up to three weeks following the bad-tempered 'friendly' against Boavista Sunday. In a dispiuted ball with Boavista's Toñito, Derlei twisted his knee and will miss Friday's Portuguese SuperTaça against Benfica and the European SuperCup against Valencia, as well as possibly the first games of the SuperLiga.


It was over eight years ago, precisely on 18 May 1996, that Rui Mendes, a Sporting fan, was killed at the Taça de Portugal Final between Sporting and Benfica at the National stadium near Lisbon. Mendes was hit in the chest by a very light fired from the opposite end of the stadium by a Benfica fan, Hugo Inácio, now on the run after disappearing during leave from prison. It has taken that long for the Football Federation to finally cough up the compensation awarded to Mendes' widow - over 300,000 euros. The award was appealed by the FPF, who considered that the responsibility for security at the game belonged to the police, but the Appeal Court found for the family. The money was paid up Friday.


Victor Fernandez is the new coach at FC Porto. The Spaniard will be presented to the fans on Wednesday at the friendly with Panathinaikos. The Spaniard was previously at Celta and Bétis. He was coach at Celta when they beat Benifca 7-0 in an infamous UEFA Cup game from 1989, when Jupp Heynckes was coach at Benfica. The contract is (in theory ...) for two years.

FC Porto have justified the sacking of Italian coach Luigi del Neri, saying that he was in a trial period and that his training methodology and tactics were inadequate for the club. Meanwhile, del Neri appears to one of those under suspicion in Italy in the context of the betting scandal going on there.


The Italian sports press is suggesting it was a conspiracy that forced coach Luigi del Neri to leave FC Porto. According to them, president Pinto da Costa was influenced to sack del Neri afterpressure from the players, notably captains Jorge Costa and Vítor Baaía.


FC Porto's squad for the coming season was presented to 47,000 fans at the club's Estádio do Dragão Saturday. The only surprise of the night was the presentation of midfilder Hugo Leal, who recently rescinded with Paris St. Germain. Porto have still to name a successor to Luigi del Neri, sacked in the early hours of Saturday morning. Brazilian Wanderlei Luxemburgo has declined an invitation from the club, sayig that he is committed to Santos.

07/08/04 (II)

FC Porto have sacked Italian coach Luigi del Neri before the season proper has begun. Del Neri took two days off late in the week but was expected back from Italy Friday to take training and have an important meeting with president Pinto da Costa to dicuss players to be released, but he didn't arrive till the early hours of Saturday morning, and after meetings at the club, he was told that his services were no longer required. He had a contract until 2007.


Benfica's Angolan striker Pedro Mantorras, who had seemed to be on the road to recovery from a prolonged knee injury, underwent surgery again Friday on his right knee. The Catalan surgeon Dugat would not say how long this phase of Mantorras' recovery would take.

Sporting's vice-captain, the central defender Beto, has also undergone knee surgery and will be out for up to five weeks.

FC Porto's new coach Luigi del Neri was late for training Friday, which raised a few eyebrows at the normally highly disciplined club. Porto's results and performances under Del Neri, especially in the wake of José Mourinho's exploits last season, have also been criticised, which could lead to some problems for the Italian in the coming weeks as the new season gets under way.

Liga de Honra side Felgueiras are in a tight spot: either they find 300,000 euros within the next two weeks to pay their playing staff or they will close down. The club has set up a kiosk in the centre of the town to take contributions from local fans to help towards the bill ... but unfortunately, this has not been a great success: in three days, they have raised just ... 13 euros.

This year's SuperTaça, between FC Porto and Benfica, will be played at the Municipal Stadium in Coimbra on 20 July.


FC Porto are the sixth best club side in the world, according to the IFFHS.

The top ten are

1. Celtic, Scotland
2. São Paulo, Brazil
3. Valência, Spain
4. AC Milan, Italy
5. Real Madrid, Spain
6. FC Porto, Portugal
7. Manchester United, England
8. Chelsea, England
9. Arsenal, England
10. = Santos, Brazil
Boca Juniors, Argentina


Benfica's new coach Giovanni Trapattoni interviewed on the official UEFA site



Salgueiros will after all be relegated to the Segunda B from the Liga de Honra (second division) for non-fulfilment of payments of a loan from the Liga. The club had appealed against a first decision. Portimonense will take their place in the higher division.


Brazilian/ naturalised Portuguese midfielder Deco, formerly of FC Porto, is having some bad luck with his new club Barcelona. On his way from Porto to Barcelona, his luggage went astray. Then on the trip to Korea for the club's pre-season tour, he arrived badly jet-lagged and feverish. Finally, he injured a thigh muscle int he first training session he managed and missed the first game of the tour.


Benfica's Brazilian central defender Luisão will be out of action for around three weeks after fracturing his jaw in Brazil's final win over Argentina in the Copa America.


Benfica striker Pedro Mantorras was kept at Lisbon airport for hours Thursday when he was found to be carrying an out-of-date passport that he had tried to alter by changing the date. The team had just returned from their pre-season training camp in Switzerland when the discovery was made. It later transpired that the player had two passports, one new, and that Mantorras' wife had packed his new one in his luggage. When this one was found, he was released.


The Portuguese Football Federation has overruled the decision, made last week by the Liga dos Clubes, to relegate Salgueiros from the Liga de Honra to the Segunda B for debts owing to the Liga.


The Portuguese Government approved today a proposal from the Sports Council to reduce the number of clubs in the top two divisions in Portugal, which currently have 18 clubs each. This season, four teams will be relegated from the SuperLiga and only two will be promoted from the Liga de Honra, so that in the 2005/2006 season there will be 16 teams in each division, playing 30 games (instead of 34).

Salgueiros president José António Linhares claimed Wednesday that the club had settled its debt with the Liga (a matter of just under 12,000 euros) within the deadline and should not therefore be relegated from the Liga de Honra. Linhares also called for the resignation of Cunha Leal, president of the Liga. Meanwhile, the Liga has said that the decision to relegate Salgueiros is "irreversible".

Germano Figueiredo, former central defender of Benfica and the Portuguese national team, died Wednesday aged 71. He won two European Cups with Benfica in the early 60s and was captain of the Portugal team (Os Magriços) that got third place in the 1966 World Cup. Germano was voted 53rd in UEFA's recent top 250 list.


Salgueiros, until relatively recently ever-present in the Superliga, have been relegated to the Segunda B (third division) from the Liga de Honra for unpaid debts to the Liga, for which the deadline was the end of June. Their place will be taken by one of the three clubs 'relegated' from the Liga de Honra at the end of last season: Portimonense, Sporting da Covilhã or União da Madeira.

Beira-Mar, coached this season by the Englishman Mick Wadsworth, have initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Brazilian midfielder Juninho Petrolina, one of the club's best players last season. Petrolina is two days late for pre-season training without any justification.


Monday's charity All-Star Game between the 'International' team and the 'National' team at the Estádio do Algarve (not at the Bessa stadium, as reported below) ended in a 3-3 draw. Figo put the Internationals in front on 26 minutes, Evandro equalised on 42, Dani got two on 68 and 70, to put the Nationals in the driving seat and Joaquin and Gascoigne, on the stroke of time, equalled the score.

The teams lined up:

'International' Stars: Ricardo, Sergi, Fernando Couto, Radebe, Juanfran, Pirlo, Guardiola, Rui Costa, Chamakh, Niculae, Michael Schumacher. (Also: Michael Aerts, Luis Enrique, Gascoigne, Hassan, Douala, Joaquin, McCoist, Desailly, Helton, Bobby Charlton).
Treinador: Alex Ferguson

'National' Stars: Hilário, Albertino, Hélder, Jorge Andrade, Rogério Matias; Danny, Maniche, Rui Pereira, Edgar, Hélder Postiga, Evandro. (Also: Serginho Baiano, Pedro Roma, Dani, Marco Caneira, Dimas, Vidigal, Polga, Miguel Garcia, Adriano, Miguelito).
Treinador: Luiz Felipe Scolari


Ten of the 23 Portuguese players who were in the squad for Euro 2004 are present for the All Star Game (in benefit of the Luís Figo Foundation) Monday. Several of Benfica's players were invited, but the club has prohibited them from taking part. The two squads for the game, to be played at Boavista's Bessa stadium are as follows:

International team:

Maikel Aerts (Feyenoord) and Paul Robinson (Tottenham).
Defenders: Sergi (Atlético Madrid), Hierro (Al Rayyan), Marcel Desailly, Lucas Radebe (Leeds), Mark Fish (Bolton), Van Der Gaag (Marítimo), Puyol (FC Barcelona) and Juan Fran (Celta Vigo).
Midfielders: Luís Figo (Real Madrid),Guardiola (Al-Ahli), Luis Enrique, Emerson (AS Roma), Paul Gascoigne (Burnley), Zidane (Real Madrid), Joaquin (Bétis) and Douala (Sporting).
Forwards: Michael Schumacher, Samuel Eto'o (Maiorca), Chamack (Bordéus), Morientes (Real Madrid), Kluivert (FC Barcelona), Niculae (Sporting) and Hassan.
Coach: Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)

Portuguese team:

Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Sporting),Pedro Roma (Académica),Hilário (Nacional) e Hélton (União Leiria).
Defenders: Rogério Matias (Vitória Guimarães), Miguelito (Rio Ave), Albertino (Marítimo), Fernando Couto (Lázio), Marco Caneira (Bordéus), Hélder, Miguel Garcia (Sporting), Andersson Polga (Sporting), Ricardo Carvalho (FC Porto), Jorge Andrade (Deportivo Corunha) e Dimas.
Midfielders: Luís Figo (Real Madrid), Danny (Sporting), Rui Costa (AC Milão), Maniche (FC Porto), Costinha (FC Porto),Vidigal (Nápoles), Capucho, Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) e Serginho Baiano (Nacional).
Forwards: Liedson (Sporting), Adriano (Nacional), Evandro (Rio Ave) e Hélder Postiga (FC Porto).
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari


The whole of the Board of Directors of Vitória de Setúbal resigned Friday following a meeting at which the remuneration of one of the directors was called into question. Setúbal have just returned to the Superliga after a season in the Liga de Honra.

Amid sobs, veteran midfielder Paulo Bento of Sporting officially announced his retirement from playing football Friday. In his career, he also represented Benfica, Vitória de Guimarães and Oviedo of Spain, among others. Bento moves to coaching Sporting juniors.

The district council of Vila Nova de Gaia in the north of Portugal has named a housing estate after Eusébio in recognition of his contribution to Portuguese football and culture.


The former president of Benfica, João Vale e Azevedo, was released from prison on bail Thursday. He is accused of involvement in a real estate scam surrounding the land on and around the site of the old Estádio da Luz.


Samuel Eto'o and Emerson are the latest additions to the All Star Game roster (see 07/07 below). Other players signed up are: Luís Figo, Rui Costa, Fernando Couto, Marco Caneira, Ricardo, Danny, Miguel Garcia, Liedson, Andersson Polga, Pedro Barbosa, Peter Schmeichel and Frank and Ronald de Boer, as wella s Michael Schumacher.


Felipe Scolari, Fernando Couto and Rui Costa have all confirmed they will take part in this year's All Star Game, the charity match organised by the Luis Figo Foundation and the Laureus Sport Foundation, to be played at the Estádio do Algarve on 12 July. Also present will be Michael Schumacher and Portuguese ref Lucilio Baptista.


Giovanni Trapattoni, fresh from a disappointing Euro 2004 in chargeof the Italian national team, has signed as coach of Benfica for two years. On his first day, he promised that the club has all the conditions to become champions, something that hasn't happened since 1994.



Beira-Mar are threatening to decline to play in the brand new Estádio Municipal de Aveiro, used at Euro 2004. The club claims that the municipal company in charge of the management of the stadium (EMA) owes it 330,000 euros, and that EMA has assumed ownership of the executive boxes in the stadium, which effectively takes away a large slice of potential income for the club. This, plus the increased costs of security for games, compared to the old Mário Duarte stadium, has made the club think twice about using the state-of-the-art venue.


The Italian Luigi del Neri. formerly of Chievo, was presented Thursday as FC Porto's new coach, taking over from José Mourinho, who has moved to Chelsea.


Former FC Porto coach José Mourinho, now of Chelsea, has been suspended for ten days by the Liga's disciplinary committee following incidents in the Sporting v FC Porto Superliga match at the end of January. Sporting accused Mourinho of ripping full back Rui Jorge's shirt and wishing that he had died on the pitch.


It's all change behind the scenes at Benfica. Former president of the Professional Footballers' Union António Carraça becomes head of the football department while former player and star of the Benfica and Portugal teams of the 60s António Simões steps down as Director of Football.


José Peseiro (see below) was officially announced as coach of Sporting Monday. He takes over from Fernando Santos, sacked in this close season and possibly bound for Greece, where he has worked before.

Vítor Oliveira will be the coach of Moreirense in the coming season, taking over from Manuel Machado, who moves to Vitória de Guimarães.


Vítor Magalhães has been elected president of Vitória de Guimarães for the next three years, taking over from Pimenta Machado, who stepped down recently after 24 years in charge.


Sporting will announce José Peseiro as their new coach Monday, to replace the sacked Fernando Santos. Peseiro was assistant to Carlos Queiróz at Real Madrid last season and was previously at Nacional of Madeira. His contract will be for two years. Queiróz is on his way back to Manchester United to be Alex Ferguson's assitant until June 2007.

Italian Luigi del Neri will be FC Porto's coach for the next three years, from Chievo of the Série A.

FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa walked the club's elections for president Friday. There was no opposition for the man who has been 22 years in the job. During that time the football team has won 13 Portuguese titles, eight Taças de Portugal, 12 Portuguese Supertaças, two European Cups, an UEFA Cup, a European Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. The new mandate will take Pinto da Costa through to 2007.

Benfica (with partners TBZ) opened the first of 50 projected Megastores, in Portugal and abroad, at the Estádio da Luz Thursday. The store has 600 square metres and cost 1 million euros to set up, but hopes to make 3 million in the first year from its 1700 different items of merchandise with the Benfica mark.


Chelsea's new coach, José Mourinho, has claimed that there were threats made against him and his family in the week before the CL Final against Mónaco. The trouble was apparently caused by the feeding frenzy of agents trying to get a piece of the action on Mourinho's move to the London club. The coach said Thursday that in the space of four days, eight agents contacted him claiming they were representing Chelsea chairman Roman Abramovich. The deal was handled by agent Jorge Mendes.


José Mourinho is to be presented as Chelsea's new coach in a press conference Wenesday. He has rescinded contract with FC Porto. Negotiations will follow for the signing of some of the 'jewels' in Porto's crown, like Deco (who admitted contacts Tuesday), Costinha and Paulo Ferreira

Sporting have sacked coach Fernando Santos. Sporting lost three of their last four games of the season and let themselves be overtaken by arch rivals Benfica into Second spot in the SuperLiga, thus losing out on a Champions League place.

Jesualdo Ferreira has extended his contract as coach with Sporting Braga for one more season.

FC Porto 'keeper Vítor Baía took advantage of the World Children's Day to present his idea for the 'Fundação Vítor Baía 99', which will help deprived kids, especially in the area of sport.


FC Porto coach José Mourinho had meetings with Chelsea Chairman Roman Abramovich on the latter's yacht in the South of France at the weekend. Former Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by the club. Mourinho still has two years left on his contract at Porto, and Chelsea are yet to approach the club to negotiate the coach's rescission, but it seems clear that Mourinho will sign sooner or later, and will probably take some players with him, Costinha, Deco and Paulo Ferreira the most talked about.

Mourinho will make 6 million euros a year at Chelsea, who will have to pay Porto 1.5 million in compensation. Porto have apparently contacted former Real Madrid coach Vincente del Bosque to take over from Mourinho.



The Algarve has a new club. Although the region, on the south coast of Portugal, struggles to maintain the clubs it already has (Farense, Portimonense, Louletano, Olhanense, etc), and despite the focus on the region that Euro 2004 will bring, the new club has the objective of drawing together the potential fan base of 400,000. The name of the club: Algarve United Futebol.


The game of musical chairs that is the situation of the coaches at all Big Three clubs continues. José Camacho has left Benfica for Real Madrid. From Real to Sporting may go assistant coach at Real José Peseiro, with Carlos Queiróz as his director. To Benfica may go Felipe Scolari after Euro 2004 is over. From FC Porto will go José Mourinho , probably to Chelsea, but with Liverpool looking on. Into FC Porto may go the Italian Neri, or possibly Casemiro Mior from Nacional.

Benfica have been cleared of any wrongdoing over central defender Ricardo Rocha's contract. The problem is from 2002 when the player was signed from Sporting Braga. There was a suggestion that the contract was signed outside the permitted time frame, and Benfica faced losing the Taça that they won recently and second place in the Liga, which gives access to the Champions League.


Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has been voted in as FC Porto president for another three years. He was the only person standing for the post. He has been president of the club for 22 years, and has won, among many titles and cups, a European Cup (1987), an Intercontinental Cup, a European Super Cup and an UEFA Cup. Porto meet Mónaco in the final of the Champions League next week.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first goal in Manchester United's comfortable 3-0 win over Millwall in the English FA Cup Final Saturday. United manager Alex Ferguson considered him to be the man of the match.


The British broadsheet 'The Independent' suggested Friday that any possible deal to take FC Porto coach José Mourinho to Chelsea could be in jeopardy over demands by Mourinho to take some of FCP's players with him, notably Deco, Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho.

Benfica coach José Camacho looks increasingly certain to leave the club, lured by the prospect of training the love of his life, Real Madrid. The sports papers are feverishly attempting to guess who his successor might be. Major sports daily A Bola suggested Friday that it might be Felipe Scolari ... or France coach Jacques Santini.

Sporting meanwhile may pick up the crumbs of Real Madrid's relatively disastrous season, with Real's assistant coach José Peseiro in line to replace Fernando Santos, Carlos Queirós as technical director.

Former Vitória de Guimarães president Pimenta Machado has said that he will not be standing again at the upcoming elections.


Benfica's Brazilian central defender Argel has renewed his contract for two years.


Benfica coach José Camacho is not yet at Real Madrid, but it's definitely on the cards: "It seems that I'm favourite to work in Real Madrid, but odds don't sign contracts, and so far there's nothing with Real. There's a lot that needs to be done before that happens."


Portuguese international left-back Rui Jorge, who was subject to suspension following a positive doping test playing for Sporting, has been cleared by the Portuguese football authorities. The decision came on the eve of the call-up of the Portuguese squad for Euro 2004. National Team coach Felipe Scolari has welcomed the decision and announced that Rui Jorge will be in the squad, to be announced officially Tuesday. The player was found to have a banned substance in his system, but always claimed that it was a part of medication to treat a sinusitis problem.

Benfica's ex-junior player Bruno Baião, who died at the weekend following two heart attacks and a period in deep coma, was laid to rest Monday. His mortal remains had lain in state for two days at the Estádio da Luz and had been visited by thousands of fans. There was a minute's silence to remember him before Sunday's Taça de Portugal Final between Benfica and FC Porto.


Carlos Carvalhal, who brought Vitória de Setúbal up to the SuperLiga this season, is the new coach of Belenenses, who parted company with August Ignácio recently.

Two Portuguese coaches were head-to-head in Egypt Saturday. Zamalek (Nelo Vingada) beat Al Ahly (Manuel José) 2-1 and clinched the league title with four games remaining.

Saturday was the last day of the Segunda B ('third' division) season, and all outstanding promotion and relegation situations were resolved (except for relegation play-offs between Caçadores da Taipas, Sporting Pombal and Amora):

Segunda B (North)
Promoted to the
Liga de Honra: Gondomar
Relegated to the Third ('fourth') Division: Bragança, Ermesinde, Leça

Segunda B (Centre)
Promoted to the
Liga de Honra: Sporting Espinho
Relegated to the Third ('fourth') Division: Académica B, Águeda, Portomosense, Marinhense

Segunda B (South)
Promoted to the
Liga de Honra: Olhanense
Relegated to the Third ('fourth') Division: Farense, Sporting B, Sintrense, Santo António

Promoted to the Segunda B are the following: Valenciano, Vilaverdense, Ribeirão, Fiães, Penalçva do Castelo, Tourizense, Benfica Castelo Branco, Abrantes, Casa Pia, Portosantense, Atlético and Vasco da Gama


The captain of Benfica's Junior team, midfielder Bruno Baião, died in hospital Saturday. He had been in a coma since Tuesday following a heart attack. He was just 18. There will be a minute's silence for the player before Sunday's Final of the Taça de Portugal between Benfica and FC Porto. In January, Hungarian striker Miklos Fehér, also of Benfica, died of a heart attack on the pitch at the end of a game against Vitória de Guimarães.


Benfica youth player Bruno Baião suffered a heart attack Tuesday and is still in intensive care in hospital. He had just learned that the club was going to renew his contract when he suffered the incident.

Players' agent José Veiga, formerly Figo's manager, has handed in his agent's card. This will leave the way clear for him to take up a senior position at Benfica.

FC Porto winger César Peixoto was in a bad car accident Wednesday but came out unscathed after hitting a wall in his Mercedes.

Rumour has it that Benfica coach José Camacho is being tempted by Real Madrid. He told the Spanish press Wednesday that his heart is really in Madrid.

The longest serving president in the SuperLiga (24 years), Vitória de Guimarães' Pimenta Machado, has stepped down. The club barely escaped relegation this season. Machado may, however, stand again.

Belenenses and coach Augusto Ignácio have parted company. Ignácio was within a whisker of taking the club down to the Liga de Honra after joining mid -season. He was the third coach at the club this season. Lined up to replace him are possibly Nelo Vingada, who would return from Egyptian side Zamalek, or Carlos Carvalhal , who brought Vitória de Setúbal up this year but who has just rescinded with them. Vitória de Setúbal may contract Alverca coach José Couceiro. Alverca were relegated at the end of the season.

English coach Mick Wadsworth has begun his time at Beira-Mar after António Sousa left under a cloud. Wadsworth was not 100% popular in England, where among other things he was assistant to Bobby Robson at Newcastle. (See alternative site).

FC Porto's South African striker Benni McCarthy was elected player of the month by the Portuguese Players' Union. The top five were:

1 McCarthy (FC Porto)
2 Wender (Sporting Braga)
3 Simão (Benfica)
4 Rossato (Nacional)
5 Alan (Marítimo)
6 Paulo Bento (Sporting)


A new law, 16/2004, was passed in Portugal Tuesday. It comes into effect with barely a month to go before Euro 2004 begins. The purpose of the law is to prevent and punish acts of violence at sporting events, making the organisers and promoters responsible for such acts and making it a criminal offence to commit same.

Some of the penalties set forth in the law are: banning the person from the venue where the act was committed for one to five years; violence in groups could lead to a prison sentence of between six months and three years; invading the pitch may be penalised with up to a year's prison or a heavy fine, as may throwing objects onto the pitch.


FC Porto quashed rumours Monday that the club has approached four coaches to take over from José Mourinho, who seems set to leave - although the club insists that he has a contract until the end of the 2005-2006 season. The four coaches are Fernando Santos (who is currently at Sporting and who has already been Porto's coach), José Camacho (Benfica) and Carlos Queiróz and José Peseiro (Real Madrid)

Vítor Pontes will remain as coach of União de Leiria for at least another season. The club is to release Caíco, Peter, Cláudio, Paulo Duarte, João Manuel, Roberto, Oliveira, Quievreux and Sérgio Gameiro

Carlos Carvalhal has left Vitória de Setúbal after taking them back to the SuperLiga at the first attempt. The Portuguese coach has said that he want to manage a bigger club.

FC Porto midfielder/forward Sérgio Conceição underwent surgery Monday on his right knee, which he injured in the final game of the season against Paços de Ferreira Sunday. He is expected to be out for at least a month and will miss the Final of the Taça de Portugal against Benfica next Sunday.


Beira-Mar president Mano Nunes confirmed Saturday that António Sousa was as good as out of the club as early as day 30, saying that the exisiting model was "worn out". Sousa has been at he club as coach for almost eight years, before which he was also a player. Lined up to take over from him is Englishman Mick Wadsworth who has served under Bobby Robson with England and Newcastle and has also been at Huddersfield and Southampton.

Meanwhile, 'keeper Andy Marriot has rescinded contract with Beira-Mar by mutual agreement. Marriott was first choice for the latter part of the season, but recently suffered a serious injury in training.


As the daily Jornal de Notícias reported Friday, the British press already has FC Porto coach José Mourinho with one foot in Chelsea. Figures being bandied around are between six and 14 million euros a year for Mourinho, nine million euros compensation for Ranieri, and almost 150 million to be spent on new signings. Mourinho would be expected to take with him some of his talismans from Porto, from Paulo Ferreira, Nuno Valente, Ricardo Carvalho, Costinha, Maniche, Deco, Derlei.

The midfielder Maniche, one of the mainstays of FC Porto's campaigns in the last two season, has been charged with drink-driving in the Algarve. He faces a fine and possible driving ban.

Benfica coach José Camacho has been linked with a possible return to Real Madrid, if and when Carlos Queiróz is shown the door there. For the moment, Camacho is, however, saying that he is 100% focussed on Benfica and their last game with Leiria, which could clinch their return to the Champions League, and the Final of the Taça against FC Porto. Camacho has also been linked to Porto, should Mourinho leave.


Former Benfica, Marítimo and Estrela da Amadora winger Sabry was arrested Monday when he tried to go through passport control at Cairo airport with a fake Portuguese passport . The Egyptian international could face up to three years in prison.


Juve Leo, the Sporting claque that invaded the pitch during the Sporting v Benfica Superliga match Sunday, have accused the Benfica players Zahovic and Argel , both on the bench, of provoking the disturbances with gestures and spitting. On an RTP Internacional discussion programme, Argel challenged a commentator that accused him of the fact to produce evidence.

Sporting's left back Rui Jorge will be suspended by the FPF as from Tuesday following confirmation of his positive test for a banned substance after Sporting's game against Moreirense in February. He could get a ban of between six months and two years, but the fact that the infraction appears to have been the result of an oversight by the club may weigh in his favour.

Alverca player Pedro Neves was banned for six months Monday for testing positive.

Following the team's defeat to Benfica, shares in Sporting fell by 4.5% Monday to finish at their lowest level since June 2003.


Belenenses midfielder Valdiram has been sacked by the club following accusations of attempted rape and murder against the player the player. A couple identified the player as being the perpetrator of an attack on them while they were in their car late last Friday.



Portuguese football continues in a parlous state, according to a study made by auditors Deloitte & Touche, in conjunction with sports daily A Bola.

Revenues for the 18 SuperLiga clubs for the season 2002/2003 were 198.4 million euros, 20 million down on the previous season. FC Porto generated the most revenue at around 55 million euros, followed by Benfica (42), Sporting (27) and Boavista (14). the other 14 SuperLiga clubs between them made a total of 60 million. The revenues of the SuperLiga were a mere 11% of those registered in England, 18% of those in Italy

The average gate at games was just over 6,000, 9% down on the previous season, while the average for the Liga de Honra (2nd Division) did not rach one thousand.


FC Porto coach José Mourinho is as good as coach of Chelsea for the coming season, according to national tabloid Correio da Manhã. The paper reports that during the celebrations to mark the winning of the title at the weekend, Mourinho told his technical staff that he would be going. He still has two years left on his contract with Porto.


President of the Liga dos Clubes, Valentim Loureiro, was released Friday evening after three days in custody in the wake of the 'Golden Whistle' operations. But he is far from being out of the woods: he is accused of 18 counts of corruption in a sporting context, four counts of trading influence and one count of passive corruption. He has been relieved of all his official duties and is prohibited from leaving the country and contacting the other 15 individuals involved in the case.

Sporting left-back Rui Jorge has tested positive for a banned substance and faces suspension of up to two years. Jorge claims he suffers from sinusitis, and that the club OK'd the use of a drug Plumicort, which contains the banned substances. The medical department has claimed responsibility. Jorge remains in the Portuguese squad for the friendly Wednesday against Sweden because the FPF have yet to receive official confirmation of the alleged infraction.


FC Porto coach José Mourinho was careful Thursday about rumours that Chelsea want to contract him for the coming season: "It's obvious that as I've got a lot of years ahead of me, one day I'm going to leave Porto ... but I haven't said this to any foreign media." Morinho went from odds of 9/2 to 5/4 with Ladbrokes as the tabloid The Mirror reported contacts between the club and the coach.

FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has withdrawn from elections to the Executive Committees of UEFA and FIFA in the wake of the unfolding scandal of the 'Golden Whistle' (see below).

Names mentioned by the Portuguese press in relation to the 'Golden Whistle' are FC Porto president Pinto da Costa and former Sporting president Sousa Cintra, both allegedly 'helped' in different respects by Liga president Valentim Loureiro.

Porto's shares fell by 5% on the stock market following Wednesday's poor display and disappointing result in the Champions League and the news that president Pinto da Costa might be involved in the 'Golden Whistle' scandal.


Some of those detained in the 'Golden Whistle' operation (see below) were heard by the judge Wednesday and released, but others like the big fish Valentim Loureiro and Pinto de Sousa were held for more questioning Thursday.


Portugal awoke Tuesday to a new scandal in the country's football. A police operation named 'Golden Whistle' carried out during the night left 16 in custody, including Valentim Loureiro , the president of the Liga dos Clubes, former president of Boavista and mayor of Gondomar, a town near Porto. Also detained for questioning were Pinto de Sousa, president of the National Refereeing Council , and six referees. At the centre of the case is corruption and the trading of influence.

At the moment, the police are interested in Gondomar FC, set to be promoted from the Segunda B to the Liga de Honra, but it is widely thought that the tentacles of the investigation will feel out for higher targets. Football Federation president Gilberto Madaíl said he was suprised at the swoop, but not astonished that something is happening about the refereeing in Portugal, given the constant sniping at it from all sides. The refereeing in games from the Segunda B and below is under the control of the Footall Federation, while the Liga dos Clubes handles the SuperLiga and the Liga de Honra.


Two construction companies, Somague and Vítor Frias, set up a blockade on access roads to Aveiro's Municipal Stadium (to be used at Euro 2004) Friday to try to force overdue payment for work done on the stadium. The blockade was lifted later in the day after negotiations with the local city council, ahead of Sunday's game between the local Beira-Mar and FC Porto.

Central defender André Vilas Boas, who plays for FC Porto's B team, was in a nasty road accident Friday in which his car flipped over several times. It was feared that the player had neck injuries, but he was released from hospital later.

Former Sporting, Benfica and Celtic striker Jorge Cadete has sold two shops he had in a shopping centre in Linda-a-Velha near Lisbon. The sale was apparently forced by failure to keep up with rentals of the shop space. According to some of the shop-owners of the centre, the former star, who recently failed a trial period with Partick Thistle of Scotland, is not the most popular person in the centre: "No one likes him here." (Correio da Manhã)


FC Porto's president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has said that he intends to stand for another mandate of three years. He has already been at the head of the club for over 20 years, and will be voted in for yet another term.

Another case of longevity, the longest surviving SuperLiga coach, António Sousa of Beira-Mar, who joined the club in 1997, has announced that he means to leave at the end of the season, intimating that his decision might have something to do with the lack of a firm offer to continue from the president of the club, Mano Nunes.

Benfica continue to renew contracts with their most trusted players. After it was reported Tuesday that Brazilian central defender Argel would continue until 2006, goalkeeper Moreira has agreed to stay at the club until 2010.


FC Porto have renewed the contracts of captain Jorge Costa (two years) and Vítor Baía (three). President Pinto da Costa said that it was in return for the good service the two have put in.


Estoril Praia remain top of the Liga de Honra, that gives access to the SuperLiga, with four games to go. They are favourites to go up, plus two from Penafiel, Vitória de Setúbal and Varzim. Varzim received Penafiel Saturday and drew 1-1. The game was stopped for 15 minutes near the end as the crowd threatened one of the linesmen following a penalty awarded to Penafiel, from which they equalised.

The Segunda B, that gives access to the Liga de Honra, is split into three zones, each of which gives a place in the Liga d eHonra to one team. From the northern zone, it looks like Gondomar are favourites, although Dragões Sandinenses are only five poitns behind and have a game in hand. From the central zone, it looks like either Sporting Espinho or Torreense, three points separating them. In the southern zone, Barreirense are just one point behind Olhanense.


International goalkeeper Vítor Baía became the player with the second highest number of Portuguese league appearances for FC Porto Saturday when he stepped out to face Marítimo. He has played in 348 games, still a long way though from full back João Pinto on 407.


The legendary Eusébio has been voted the 7th best player ever in a poll made by UEFA.

Sporting's Brazilian midfielder Fábio Rochemback will be out of action for six months after a knee operation.

The Liga dos Clubes is proposing stiff fines and possible loss of points for comments made about referees before a game. The proposal is currently in committee to smooth out the rough edges.


Sporting's influential Brazilian midfielder Fábio Rochemback will need to undergo surgery on a knee injury picked up in the recent SuperLiga game against Alverca. Rochemback is on loan from Barcelona.

Sporting are planning a mini-tour of the USA in May. They are set to play San José Earthquakes on May 12th and New England Revolution on the 19th, plus one other game TBA.


In the Liga de Honra (second division), it looks like perm any three from four for promotion to the SuperLiga with just five games left, although Estoril Praia are sitting pretty on top with 57 points. Penafiel (whose president is former National Team coach António Oliveira) are second on 52, Varzim have 50 and Vitória Setúbal, who won 2-1 at Estoril Sunday, are fourth on 49 points. Three teams go up.



The remaining access points and roads to Benfica's Luz Stadium were inaugurated Monday by Pedro Santa Lopes, Mayor of Lisbon, and José Luis Arnaut, Minister in charge of sport. The 65,000 -seater Luz will be the venue for the final of Euro 2004.

União de Leiria president João Bartolomeu is suing former coach Manuel José, currently coaching in Egypt, for 50,000 euros. Bartolomeu is accusing Manuel José of defamation of character after the coach called the president 'dictatorial'.


Benfica's offer of debentures, which closed yesterday, was over-subscribed by 50%. The issue will raise 15 million euros.

FC Porto coach José Mourinho has admitted that he has received offers for next season, but he insists that he will not leave the club unless it is OK with club president Pinto da Costa.


Former FC Porto and Sporting star striker Mário Jardel has disappeared without trace in Italy. His club Ancona gave him some time off to deal with personal affairs, but they have not heard from him now for three days. Jardel left Sporting under a cloud at the end of last season and went to English club Bolton, where he could not hold down a first team place.


Sporting midfielder/forward Ricardo Sá Pinto will undergo surgery on a recurring knee injury this week in Basle, Switzerland.

The Estádio do Mar, home of Liga de Honra club Leixões, has been banned for a month after crowd incidents at the weekend's game against league-leaders Estoril (0-3)

Just three years ago they were Champions. Tuesday they had just three column inches in the top-selling sports daily, A Bola: Boavista. Meanwhile, in the same paper, Sporting were entitled to six pages, Benfica four and Porto three


All the weekend's games in Portugal will be preceded by a minute's silence. The Liga dos Clubes and the Federação Portuguesa de Futebol announced the gesture in the wake of Thursday's outrage in Madrid.

Portugal is sixth in the UEFA Rankings, consolidating its place after FC Porto and Benfica's exploits in Europe this season. Ahead of Portugal are Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France. Portugal is ahead of Greece, Holland, the Czech Republic and Turkey.

Benfica inaugurated a new restaurant in theclub's Luz Stadium Thursday, called ... A Catedral da Cerveja ('The Cathedral of Beer').


FC Porto's shares peaked at a 6% increase in value on the day during trading Wednesday, following the team's triumphant elmination of Manchester United from the Champions League Tuesday evening. Share vale was at a ten-month high.

Valter Silva, Director of Football at Algarve club Imortal, accused referees of having agents to "negotiate" results of games: "They phone us and tell us the price needed to win a game." Silva appealed for the Fraud Squad and the football authorities to quickly investigate this situation so that "the cancer of corruption doesn't spread and kill Portuguese football once and for all."

A bruxo (male witch) has been to Vitória de Guimarães Estádio D. Henriques to put a spell on it. Vitória are in serious danger of dropping to the Liga de Honra.


Jaime Pacheco has returned to Boavista to take over from sacked coach Erwin Sanchez. Pacheco was at Boavista for their title win in 2000/01, but then fell from grace and went to Spanish club Mallorca, where he lasted only a season.


Erwin Sanchez has been sacked as coach of Boavista. The Bolivian, in his first season as a coach, has kept the team on the fringes of a UEFA Cup place but the quality of the football played by the Panteras has pleased neither the fans (they whistled the team off the pitch at the end of the 1-1 home draw with Paços de Ferreira Saturday) nor, apparently, president João Loureiro: "It was without a doubt the most difficult decision I've had to make as president, but we reached the conclusion that there were no longer conditions for the coaching to bear fruit in what's left of the SuperLiga." Erwin Sanchez has been at the club on and off, as a player and then coach, for the last decade.


Liga de Honra club Marco have had their stadium banned for 30 days by the Liga following a pitch invasion by one man last weekend at the home game against Santa Clara. The local mayor, Avelino Ferreira Torres, was incensed by the performance of the referee and made his way to the pitch where he shouted abuse at the match officials and kicked over the table of the fourth official. After the final whistle, he entered the pitch to argue with the referee, with officers of the GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) looking complacently on.

Ferreira Torres is a former presidente of the club (the stadium is named after him). He is currently being tried separately for the crimes of abuse of power and embezzlement.

Eusébio, Figo and Rui Costa are among the 125 living players (50 still playing) voted the best in the world by Pelé. Photos of the players will be included in a book to be published by FIFA to celebrate the organisation's centenary.

FIFA agent José Veiga, who has represented such players as Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, has bene invited to join the Board of Benfica. If he accepts, he will have to cancel his agent's licence.



Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Benfica for short, blow out 100 candles Saturday.


Vitória de Guimarães have had their ground banned for two matches after incidents at the end of the recent Vitória v Boavista SuperLiga match.


The official UEFA website will be holding a Q&A session with the legendary Eusébio on Thursday, just hours before his beloved Benfica meet Rosenborg in the UEFA Cup. See here.


Disgraced former president of Benfica, João Vale e Azevedo, was released from prison Thursday but promptly re-arrested. He was in prison because of irregularities to do with the transfers of Russian 'keeepr Ovchinikov in and out of the club, and re-arrested due to other irregularities to do with the sale of land near the Benfica stadium to a real estate company.

FC Porto's South Af rican striker Benni McCarthy was apparently caught out on the town late at night and forced by the club to train with the 'B' Team Wednesday as punishment. The player will still be in the side to face Vitória de Guimarães at the weekend, however.


The Portuguese Football Federation has been told by the courts to pay 235,000 euros to the family of Rui Mendes, killed by a very light at the 1996 Taça de Portugal Final between Sporting and Benfica. the Federation is to appeal, claiming that they did everything in their power to ensure that the venue was safe, and transferring responsibility for safety problems to the police.

Benfica are set to issue debentures to the value of 15 million euros n March to get over immediate cash problems.

April will see the start of a new show on Portuguese television: 'Soccastars'. Selection begins at the beginning of March for the show that will involve both young women and men who will try to prove their skills and win a year's trial at Sporting (for the men) and a scholarship to an American university (for the women). The coach for the 'course' will be former Benfica centre-back Carlos Mozer, with former Portuguese international Paulo Sousa in charge of the Académia. Former FC Porto great Fernando Gomes will be a member of the jury. while the initial tests will be made according to the FIFA-accredited 'soccaskills' system, devised by ex-Liverpool player Craig Johnston.


FC Porto will after all be replacing the turf at their Estádio do Dragão, this after months of waiting, fruitlessly, for the current pitch to take root. The company laying the new turf believe it could be ready by the weekend's game versus Vitória de Guimarães. The replacement will also come in time for the reception of Manchester United in the Champions' League at the end of the month.

The Lisbon City Council voted Tuesday to exempt the stadiums of Benfica and Sporting from Municipal Tax, on the basis that the stadiums are a local utility. The Mayor of Lisbon is Pedro Santana Lopes, a former president of Sporting.


Sporting are considering suing FC Porto coach José Mourinho, and the club's president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa for supporting him, after the coach allegedly ripped the Sporting shirt (the club's emblem and therefore, in footballing terms, sacrosanct) following the recent Sporting v Porto SuperLiga game. Mourinho also, it is alleged, wished that Sporting full-back Rui Jorge would die on the pitch, this a week after Benfica's Miklós Fehér actually did.

Former Sporting player and coach Manuel Fernandes has take the reigns at Liga de Honra side Penafiel.


Thje controversy is growing in the aftermath of the Sporting v FC Porto Superliga game of last Saturday. After the match, Porto coach José Mourinho allegedly ripped the shirt of Sporting full back Rui Jorge when the kit-man was trying to exchange it for Vitór Baía's jersey by the Porto changing room, and he is allso alledged to have said that he wished Rui Jorge would die on the pitch.

Mourinho was angry about losing two points and at what he saw as a lack of sportsmanship by some of the Sporting players, especially Rui Jorge, who took a quick throw-in after an injury to João Pinto and caught out the Porto defence, from which a penalty ensued, and Liedson, who was accused of exaggerating challenges on him by the Porto defence in the hope of producing some yellow cards, which in fact did happen. Later in the week, the Porto players issued a press release accusing the Sporting players of a lack of fair play.

Mourinho will face disciplinary proceedings from the Liga for his comments. Meanwhile, he is suing Sporting Director José Eduardo Bettencourt for his declarations at the press conference after the game, in which the latter accused Mourinho of ripping the shirt and wishing Rui Jorge dead. At the same press conference, Mourinho stated that he was fed up with Portuguese football as it was and wanted the Porto president, Pinto da Costa, to let him leave at the end of the season.

Sporting will also face disciplinary proceedings after only allow in Porto 1,700 tickets when the regulations state that the visiting club should be allowed up to 30% of the tickets on sale.


The Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães, scene of a mini battle Sunday after the Vitória de Guimarães v Boavista Superliga match, has been closed for 30 days by order of the Liga.

Liga president Valentim Loureiro said Monday that he will be pushing for new regulations to prevent anyone involved in football from making inflamatory statements prior to games that might incite violence. This follows the violence at Sunday's game and a week of possible incitement in the press in the run-up to it.

The Secretary of State for Sport, Hermínio Loureiro, said that the Government will be pushing a bill through parliament in February that will make it possible to ban offenders in cases like these from entering stadiums.



João Carlos Pereira will be the new coach at Académica, taking over from Vítor Oliveira, who was removed from the post in the week. Pereira, 37, was Oliveira's assistant, and also Artur Jorge's earlier in the season.


The resignation of boards seems to be catching. After the Sporting Braga board stepped down Tuesday, it was the turn of the Leixões (Liga de Honra) board followed suit Thursday over an internal disagreement about whether to sell some land to alleviate debts.


The board of Sporting Braga club resigned en bloc Tuesday, apparently due to differences of opinion with Sporting Braga SAD (plc), although president Pedro Machado said that the club had simply come to "the end of a cycle".


Académica and coach Vítor Oliveira have parted company, apparently amicably. The club is struggling to avoid relegation from the SuperLiga.


FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said Friday that Portugal will apply to host the Confederations Cup in 2007 (and not in 2005, as reported below). He also said that it is possible that Portugal will be given one of the European finals in 2005.


Portugal may apply to host the 2005 Confederations Cup, FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said Thursday, especially since there will then be ten new stadiums available from Euro 2004 , and three of them (Dragão, Alvalade, Luz) have a 5-star rating from UEFA.


Belenenses have sacked Serbian coach Vladislav Bogicevic after just 52 days in charge and after he took over from Portuguese coach Manuel José, also sacked. The club had won just one league game in seven under Bogicevic and drawn two. The final straw was a 2-2 draw conceded at bottom club Estrela da Amadora Monday after being 2-0 up with just five minutes to go. The new coach is Augusto Ignácio, sacked earlier in the season from struggling Vitória de Guimarães. "It was a mistake to contract Bogicevic," said club president Sequeira Nunes.


The Portuguese Football Federation are to move house. They signed the deed Tuesday for a building in the centre of Lisbon. The Federation will stay in their current, cramped home, in the misleadingly named (given recent form and results) Praça da Alegria ('Happiness Square'), also in the centre, until March.

The Portuguese football pools, Totobola, are to be revamped in an attempt to stop a slide into oblivion. The new game will have 13 matches that you have to guess the result of (home win, draw, away win, or 1X2), plus a bonus Superprize called Super 14; if you guess all the results, and can then guess the score of a fourteenth match, you take home the pot. Only games played at the weekend will count. And there will be substitute matches in case any on the coupon are postponed. The new game starts as from January 19th.


Three Portuguese are in UEFA's ideal team of the year, voted for by visitors to the organisation's website. While Figo of Real Madrid is perhaps not a surprise, the choice of Porto's coach José Mourinho is, and even more so the same club's right back Paulo Ferreira, who is relatively unknown in European circles and is also having an indifferent season so far.

Benfica are in blackout. The administration are unhappy about the way recent boardroom rows have been reported in the press and ordered the playing and technical staff to refrain from making any declarations.

FC Porto were the fifth best club side in the world, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. AC Milan were the best.


At the halfway stage of the Liga de Honra (Second Division), five teams are bunched at the top of the table with only five points between them: Estoril Praia (35), Varzim (33), Naval (32), Penafiel (31) and Vitória de Setúbal (30). Varzim and Vitória came down from the SuperLiga at the end of last season.


João Alves has resigned as coach of Liga de Honra side Leixões. He claimed that he had not been paid "um cêntimo" since he joined the club in November. He also said that the players, who were given the go-ahead to deposit salary cheques from October, found that they bounced.


Superfute, the company headed by Portuguese agent José Veiga, announced Thursday that it was ending its ten-year association with, and representation of, Luís Figo: "Superfute and Luís Figo have decided to terminate the professional relationship to further strengthen the friendship and respect that exists between the two."


FC Porto announced Wednesday the setting up of a 'players fund', in partnership with the company First Portuguese Group (FPG). Under this scheme, FPG will pay FCP a lump sum up front of over six million euros. In return, FPG get a percentage stake (from 2.5 to 15%) in up to 11 players in FCP's squad. If and when the players are sold on, FPG gets the same percentage of the transfer fee. There are already two other similar funds operating in Portugal, at Sporting and Boavista.


Bilro, João Manuel and Paulo Duarte have been relieved of their respective captaincy and vice-captaincies at União de Leiria. No reason was given by the club. Bilro has been at UDL for 11 seasons and seemed to be dedicated to it. "I have to go along with and respect the decision," he said.

The Portuguese international referees have agreed to referee again games involving Vitória de Guimarães. They had refused to apitar games involving Vitória because of constant crticism from the club.

The Secretary of State for Sport, Hermínio Loureiro, has publicly condemned the burst of violence, unusual in Portuguese football, that left three Sporting fans hospitalised with stab wounds following Sunday's derby against Benfica. "It's important to create conditions to prevent these situations from happening," he said. The stabbings occurred in a mainline station miles from the Luz and several hours after the final whistle.


Three Sporting fans were hospitalised following the Lisbon derby Sunday, allegedly attacked by Benfica fans in one of Lisbon's main rail stations, Santa Apolonia. The patients were visited Monday by the four 'captains' of Sporting: Pedro Barbosa, Beto, Rui Jorge and Sá Pinto.

There were many criticisms aimed at the New Luz stadium following the clássico. One of the most serious was that with only two accesses to the stadium operating, there were huge agglomerations of fans trying to get into the stadium and being funnelled through restricted checkpoints where they were being frisked for illegal objects. Only the patience of the fans, it appears, prevented the situation from turning potentially tragic into tragic mesmo. A feature that must be seen to ahead of Euro 2004.


Sports daily O Jogo's on-line version recently took votes on the team of the year and 24,000 visitors to the site voted. Not surprisingly perhaps, FC Porto, who dominated the year on the pitch, also dominated the list. O Jogo is also published in the north. All the players are Portuguese except Derlei, Brazilian. The 'dream team' was:

Goalkeeper: Vítor Baía (FC Porto)
Full-backs: Paulo Ferreira and Nuno Valente (both FC Porto)
Centre-backs: Ricardo Carvalho (FC Porto) and Ricardo Rocha (Benfica)
Trinco: Costinha (FC Porto)
Midfielders: Maniche, Deco (both FC Porto) and Tiago (Benfica)
Forwards: Simão (Benfica) and Derlei (FC Porto)

Derlei was struck with bad luck at the end of the old year, a knee injury keeping him out of action probably for the rest of the season. But the new year has brought him the best of good luck, his new son Giovani being the first baby of the year to be born in the city of Oporto.

Three thousand people watched FC Porto's first training session of the new year, reflecting well the enthusiasm the team has generated in the city.


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