Friday, August 29, 2008

How Do You Spell Portuguese Soccer?

Just let me rant a bit today:

I have a fondness for the Portuguese top division, but man, this is Mickey Mouse management at its absolute worst. On an international level, Portugal produces impressive talent; no need to run down the list, but a quick glance at the rosters of the top clubs in the world tells you all you need to know. Domestically, however, is a different story. There's very little to be savored among what remains on the club level. There are many second-tier Brazilian imports; and the top clubs are rife with either corruption, financial peril or greed.

So you'd figure that the powers-that-be would do everything in their power to promote the brand, market the big clubs, the stars and the rivalries (e.g., derbies).

So why oh why is Benfica playing Porto in Week 2 (this weekend) and Sporting in Week 4? Why do we have two of the three marquee derbies out of the way by the middle of September? Oh wait, it gets better. Guess who plays in Week 5? C'mon, guess!

Yes, you guesssed it: Sporting and Porto!!

To borrow from Internet vernacular: WTF!!!

In a league desperate for attention, desperate to keep its two Champions League spots, desperate for positive news, why would it do away with the derbies by Oct. 1??

I'm confounded by the abject stupidity of this. Are these guys that married to the randomness of the schedule draw? Is it in the best interest of the fans and the championship to have these huge matches out of the way months before the title is to be decided? Wouldn't Sporting-Porto two or three weeks prior to the end of the season (or heaven forbid, in the final week) serve the greater good much better than in Week 18 some time in February?

How much work would it have been to, you know, before you release the schedule to the public and the clubs, you know, like read it first? And have a look at the matchups and say, "Well, it's kinda top heavy. Why not move week 5 down to week 14?" Who would it hurt?

What a joke! Anyone seen my Mickey Mouse ears? I know someone who would like to borrow them.


Fumas said...

It's all in the draw, there's no tampering allowed, all the clubs are present at the time of the draw.
There's something about the Portuguese system, and when i speak about system, i speak not only of the bodies that govern Portuguese soccer, but also the Portuguese government. There are laws in Portugal that are way antiquated, full of loopholes created by modern times, and there's very little law reform going on in Portugal. The same applies to the LPF - Liga Portuguesa de Futebol, the body that governs the 2 beer competitions in Portugal - Liga Sagres and Carlsberg Cup, they abide by the rules set in place more than 75 years ago.
I understand your point about marketing the league and making it more entertaining and attractive, but i kind of like the traditional system. It gives it an interesting feel.

I do agree that perhaps in modern times, where money is king, Portugal's soccer governing body, should move towards a more modern enterprise type a body. They have all to gain by promoting the league and creating ways to generate new capital, which in turn should be distributed on a scale basis to the teams that need it the most. By doing this you are creating better financial conditions for the smaller clubs, that in turn will invest on better quality players, increasing the competitiveness of the league as a result.
But let's not forget that only the big 3 are attractive enough to generate considerable income, so should they be left out in the cold, when they are the reason for this new income? it's a vast and long topic that involves many variable and ifs. Maybe that's why the LPF decided to leave it as is..
It's silly for all of the derbies to be done by week 5, but that was the luck of the draw..

Check this out..
After Benfica plays Porto this weekend, Porto will "follow" Benfica, playing every single adversary Benfica played the week before.

There's a certain charm to the way the draw comes out, but i completely understand your point from an entertaining perspective and also from the point that, a league that is far from being one of the more competitive ones in Europe, should perhaps do something with their schedule to attract interest.

What do you think about the derbies not being shown live?

Starting11 said...

I think it's disgusting the derbies aren't shown live. These are the showcase games, and they should be available to anyone. The days of protecting the gate are over with the Internet, etc. They're going to sellout or get close, and whoever is going to the game, is going whether it's shown on TV or not.