Congratulations to Benfica, the Champion

In the opinion article by João Caiado Guerreiro in the newspaper A Bola: "And at the moment of victory, we should - because soccer is just a sport of overwhelming passion, but a sport - congratulate the winners".
News 05/06/2023

Today, and to start with, the “Direito ao Golo” goes to the champion Benfica. On merit, they were superior to their opponents throughout the championship, despite some difficulties experienced after the World Cup in Qatar and the defeat against Inter Milan. And at the moment of victory, we should congratulate the winners because football is only a sport of overwhelming passion but a sport. To President Rui Costa, the coach Roger Schmidt and the players, it took a lot of effort, persistence and quality.

The merit is even more significant because FC Porto was a great opponent, Sporting de Braga did an above-average championship and Sporting, despite a less successful season, is once again a top team since the arrival of Frederico Varandas and Ruben Amorim. And these, along with teams like Arouca, Casa Pia, V. Guimarães, Famalicão, and Chaves, made this championship one of the richest in recent years. A word of appreciation and encouragement to the referees, VAR included, and the remaining players. There is a lot to improve – strangely, the problems this season were very much at the VAR level, and it would be good if the conversations between them and the main referee were public: more transparent show and better perception of the decisions, but we are on the right track.

After the Reds’ title celebrations, the FPF Disciplinary Board opened disciplinary proceedings against player David Neres following grammatical liberties. However, what the player said would not earn him any penal sanction: being rude and swearing is not a crime. If it were, Quim Barreiros, musician and exceptional singer, could not work!

The Penal Code provides for the crime of insults but doesn’t punish anyone beyond a fine and compensation. And one has to insult someone. Neres is said to have said (and written) “Chupa” and “Chora Baby”. Neither of these expressions would be worth any sanction. Courts, especially criminal courts, exist to deal with serious things.

But sport is different because athletes, particularly in football, are asked for more. This may come from the fact that the spectacle of football draws crowds and passion, so it is necessary to calm tempers to avoid tragedies like those that have already occurred in Portugal and other countries.
The Brazilian international risks being suspended and not playing the Super Cup. Says article 158 of the Disciplinary Regulations of the League. Paragraph d) states that “in the case of expressions directed against players, with the penalty of suspension to be fixed between the minimum of one and maximum of three games and (…) fine (…). In the past, Otávio, Fábio Cardoso and Manafá, FC Porto players, got one match suspension for chanting “sons of p… SLB”. Following the jurisprudence of this decision, Neres may not be sanctioned. Calling “son of a b…. ” is far more serious than saying “Sucks”, which isn’t even a swear word.

On the other hand, is there a reason for players to “poke” opponents in this way? We will judge; it’s up to the Disciplinary Board to decide.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.

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