União de Leiria, the first club to play a 4-3-0
Unbelievable - Leiria is the first club in the Portuguese first division and probably in professional football to start a match with 8 players. It’s been an endless turbulent season for the club, who were evicted from their home stadium and are on the verge of relegation.
This defeat is a crystal clear reflection on the disgraceful, corrupt financial management in Portuguese football. Last week the majority of Leiria’s first team players announced a strike as their wages had not been paid for numerous months, a recurring problem for several teams in the top flight.
Despite the president of the bottom placed club calling the players to participate in the afternoon encounter against Feirense, only one player responded. Without his presence the match would have been terminated as 8 are players required, where 4 of them are on loan from Benfica. It was a game they had to win in order to maintain any hope of remaining in the Liga ZON Sagres, but in reality their chances were slimmer than a size 0 model. It took Feirense 45 minutes to break the deadlock, until they sunk Leiria with 4 goals.
The future for Portuguese football is dark and the financial tsunami has yet to hit other clubs. In the past we’ve seen Estrela Amadora and Campomaiorense become obsolete whilst former champion Boavista and Algarve giants Farense relegated to lower leagues. It’s obvious that drastic changes and support is vital, otherwise the beautiful game can’t be played in a beautiful county, unless you play for the elite. [posted by DV]