Belenenses request 7-0 defeat to Benfica be replayed due to COVID outbreak

Belenenses have formally requested a rematch against Benfica after their meeting last week was suspended due to the home side not having enough players.

A COVID-19 outbreak at Belenenses left them with just nine players for the game, two of whom were goalkeepers, but they were told that they still had to play on as they had more than the league minimum of seven fit squad members.

Benfica showed no mercy and racked up seven goals in the first half, after which only seven Belenenses players came out for the second 45. Three minutes in, backup goalkeeper Joao Monteiro, who was playing outfield, went down with an injury and forced the referee to suspend the game.

As it stands, the match is still official and has contributed to the current league table, but Belenenses have formally requested for the game to be struck from the record and replayed at a later date.

“Belenenses SAD have received the report of the match referee, and it appears that the referee declared ‘… the game ended due to numerical inferiority, during the third minute of the second half,” a statement began (via Record).

“Article 45, no. 4 of the Regulation of Liga Portugal Competitions provides that ‘when a game has been finished by the referee before the end of regulation time, the result registered by the referee will not be ratified, instead being decided by a new match, except in the cases expressly provided for in the regulations.

“The game was terminated by the referee before the end of regular time. The regulations do not expressly provide for the case of a game being ended by the referee before the end of regulation time, that is, they do not provide for what must happen in that case.

“Consequently, the League must not ratify the result of this game, but must arrange a new game, with Belenenses available to set the date of the new game under the terms of the regulations and calendars of both teams.”

A club spokesman confirmed to Reuters that no fewer than 44 players and staff are isolating after 13 cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant were detected in the club.

An investigation has now been opened into the match, with league officials looking at whether the curtailed match actually conformed to health regulations in the first place.

The local health department have denied responsibility for postponing the game, with everybody blaming each other at this point.