While doing my research for the end of season reviews a few months back, I was struggling to understand what was going on in the Portuguese Primera Liga. For some unknown reason, the league had gone from 16 teams to 18 teams, with relegated Pacos Ferreira remaining in the league, and Boavista, who were in the 3rd tier, suddenly appeared in the top division. Something had clearly happened that had slipped me by, which anyone who knows me will say does not happen often. This has been around 6 weeks in the making, but with the start of the season has slipped down the ‘To Do’ list.
After doing a little digging, I found that Boavista were relegated around 2008 for match fixing, supposedly, back in 03/04. They were found guilty by a Portuguese court of influencing referee’s. Funnily enough Porto were apparently charged of something similar, and got a couple of points knocked off. Unfair, right?
After years of protesting their innocence it came out at the back end of the 12/13 season that the court ruling was void, as the punishment was unjust, and Boavista had to be reinstated in the top league, where they would have been had this not all have happened. They should have gone back in during the 13/14 season, but the club did not want to due to the fact their squad was of a quality for the 3rd tier, not Primera standard. They declined to rejoin in 13/14, instead taking a season to try and claim money which they will no doubt get/have got in that time for being unfairly relegated.
This season however they have joined the league, Belenenses and Penafiel have come up along with Boavista (and Pacos stay up) making it an 18 team league for the first time in a few years. Either way the Porto club, who are one of only 5 teams to win the top league, have taken their place back where they belong. Will they stay there for long? I doubt it. Their squad, despite many additions, does not look strong enough to survive.
The other disappointing thing is everyone had practically abandoned Boavista, and have now come flooding back now they are in the Primera. Even the chairman back in the day when they were in this league. With two relegations, all hope was lost and despite the appeal at the time, nobody stuck about once it was declined. Think of it like this – Man Utd had an awful season last year and a lot of fans supported others. Now Van Gaal and the likes of Di Maria and Falcao have signed, all of those fans have come back and claim they never left. Many supported them when they were doing well, they even won the title in 2001.
It would not surprise me if they go down and they all desert the club again. This is a great example of justice, but will 5 years in the lower leagues take their toll later in the season?