Soares told reporters he had unsuccessfully asked the authorities for the game to be postponed.
“In the middle of the afternoon we communicated to the Liga that we didn’t want to play the game,” hy het gesê.
“We had eight players who could attend the game and as such they told us that if we didn’t attend the game it would be unjustified absence.
“Playing here today was a shame for all of us.”
Soares told Saturday’s news conference that defender Cafu Phete had tested positive for Covid
, having returned to Portugal on Thursday from international duty in Suid-Afrika
Soares added that he was concerned the cases in the squad could be related to the new Omicron variant
It was first discovered in South Africa and the World Health Organisation
(WIE) on Friday classed it as a
” variant of concern
,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms
Benfica president Rui Costa said his side had no choice but to play the game on Saturday.
“We did not like to enter the pitch under these conditions,” hy het gesê. “Benfica was forced to do it like Belenenses. I regret what happened today, a dark chapter for Portuguese football and for the country itself.”
Sporting, third in the standings behind leaders Benfica, also released a statement.
“What made this situation possible must deserve a deep reflection by all those who defend the sporting truth and must deserve national attention at the highest level,” dit het gesê.
“It is already receiving international attention and marking yet another dark episode in Portuguese football…”