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Portuguese football season to restart in May: PM

The Portuguese football season can restart behind closed doors on the last weekend of May, the country’s prime minister said Thursday while announcing plans to relax the coronavirus lockdown.

The country’s top flight Primeira Liga and the final of the Portuguese Cup are the “only exception” to a ruling that has kept all other professional sport suspended, Antonio Costa told reporters.

Costa added that a restart to the season, which has been suspended since mid-March, is subject to approval by health authorities and the selection of stadiums that can satisfy requirements.

With 10 matches remaining Porto are top of the league, one point ahead of reigning champions Benfica. 

Braga and Sporting Lisbon are 13 and 15 points back respectively. 

Porto and Benfica are also set to take each other on in the Portuguese Cup final, which is yet to be rescheduled after being postponed from its original date of May 24.

The suspension to the season has hit Portuguese football’s finances hard with one of the league’s main sponsors, media and telecoms group Altice, trying to suspend its payments to first and second division clubs.

Sporting’s fragile financial situation has led to the club cutting player pay by 40 percent and putting almost all of its staff on a partial unemployment scheme since mid-April.

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