A top football game in Portugal on Saturday evening instead created a mockery, with one team being forced to field only nine players, including two goalkeepers, as its other teams were reduced to a Covit-19 explosion.
The match between Benfica and Belenenses in Portugal’s best professional league was dominated by 11 full-time players, including Benfica, who scored seven goals at the break. The game was stopped during the second half when one of the remaining seven balance players sat down and reduced his side to 6, saying he could not continue. According to the rules of the game a team must field at least seven players.
Prior to the game, the virus had spread through the Balance Club, infecting 17 of its players and staff. One of the players who tested positive recently returned from playing in South Africa, where researchers first discovered a new omigran variant of the corona virus.
The World Health Organization has named Omigran a “variant of anxiety” that could spread more easily than any other type of virus. It is not clear whether the player was affected by the variation.
Belenenses players tried to cancel the game, warning in a joint statement before the match that football would “lose heart” if forced to play such a non-competitive match amid a public health crisis. Authorities reportedly told players the game should continue.
Players from several other clubs have criticized Portuguese sports officials for tarnishing the country’s reputation and the reputation of Portugal, one of its favorite sports.