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FOOTBALL (Soccer) IN THE ALGARVE 2016/2017

These notes are to help those who would like to watch a live game while visiting the Algarve. I have been to many of the grounds myself.

Page updated 22nd May 2017 - the domestic season finishes next weekend for the Algarve teams with the final of the Algarve FA Cup. Leagues are already concluded.

Background to the setup in Portuguese football

This is the Portuguese football set-up in descending order for season 2016 - 2017. National Leagues consist of three tiers. The fourth and, where they exist, fifth tiers are the regional leagues. Promotion and relegation operates between all tiers.

  1. Liga NOS - Benfica, Porto, Sporting etc;
  2. Lige Ledman Pro - Segunda Liga
  3. Campeonato Prio (Naçional Seniores) - Regional divisions
  4. Regional and District Leagues - semi-professional

This English language website http://www.portugoal.net/ covers the top level and national team. Some information seems not be updated regularly, so treat with caution. There are these English language 'blog' type websites which predictably concentrate on the top division, but make an interesting read for those wishing to keep in touch -

http://portugalfutbol.net/ and http://futebolfactory.com/

Another good website, with areas in English and several other languages, is www.zerozero.pt which, among a lot of information has results, league tables and fixtures for all levels of the game in Portugal.

There is only one website specifically for  Algarve football, the official Algarve FA website www.afalgarve.pt in Portuguese only but easy enough to navigate and make sense of.

In Portugal, there is little or no recreational or 'park' football as we know it in the UK. Most organised football is played on enclosed grounds with 'proper' referees and linesmen.

There are also national and regional set-ups for U-19 etc type football. There are some unofficial veterans leagues.

You will be pleased to hear that admission charges are a lot less than in the UK for the comparable level of football. Tickets are readily available apart from, for example, Benfica v Sporting or Benfica v Porto. In most top level grounds and all those below that level you can pay on the day.

No league games are scheduled over the weekend between the Christmas and New Year Holidays, or over the two weekends at all if those holidays fall on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. At Easter there are no matches on Easter Sunday, they are mostly played on the Saturday instead.

Football tours to the Algarve

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Would you like a football tour to the Algarve? Algarve Football Tours can organise games at any level, from full professional down to veterans and school-aged teams.

The company deals with top level and semi-professional teams from Germany, Sweden, Norway etc during their winter break and also arranges pre-season training matches for top British and other clubs. Matches can be arranged against suitable local opposition and also on a tournament basis between visiting teams. Qualified referees are arranged for all matches and those at higher level will be provided with appropriate people from the Portuguese or Algarve Football Association lists.

Semi - professional clubs can also have suitable matches arranged pre-season against local opposition. All matches at such levels require official sanctions from the relevant Football Associations. AFT banner at Guia FC

For those at the lower levels of the game, we can organise end of season and pre- season tour games against local teams of ex-pats, short end-of-season tournaments between visiting teams, also trips for school age teams during the winter and Easter holidays.  Intending school aged teams should be aware that most weekday matches would be played in the evenings on 3G pitches under floodlights. We ensure that age appropriate match arrangements are in place.

It is not easy to organise anything in July and August as it is too hot. The local football season, apart from the top two divisions, ends in mid-May and resumes in late September.  Veteran's and school aged games are normally good until the end of June.

For smaller groups, we have access to 3G pitches with floodlights (and a bar adjacent!)  for five a side and seven a side matches, often in a short tournament format.

The Algarve is regularly visited not only by teams from the UK but from Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the USA. A chance to meet different opposition!

Algarve Football Tours will make all the arrangements necessary to make your trip a successful event - except booking flights and the essential insurance! Hotels, transport to and from matches, training venues (if required) and other off the field and non football activities can be organised

Click the logo below to visit our website for more information, testimonials and contact details.

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Women's Football Tours to Portugal

algarve_women's_football_1As Women’s football gathers momentum and popularity, we are delighted to offer Portugal as a great destination for Women’s Football Tours offering bespoke packages including matches or tournaments. Throughout Portugal we have women's/girls teams providing ideal opposition for all levels, amateur to Semi Professional. Selected hotels offer full training facilities for the more serious, or we can create a tailor made package based in a lively resort to make a perfect football holiday.

We can create a tailor made package for your women’s and girl's football teams with hotels/accommodation to suit your requirements, training facilities and those all important matches or tournaments. In the  Algarve, Lisbon or Porto we have great conditions, venues and opposition choices to be sure your team has a great football experience in Portugal.

If your prefer your tour to be a more sociable event, you can be based in one of the Algarve’s lively resorts, to enjoy beautiful beaches, good restaurants and nightlife based around your football.

Women's Futsal tours with matches and tournaments can also be arranged. Algarve_women's_futsal

Futsal in Europe has a long history in the sport and Portugal is host some of the best players and teams. Take the chance to test your skills on the European stage. Our package of accommodation, training facilities and matches all set in a lively resort means you and your team can enjoy a great tour in the Algarve.

Please click here to make an enquiry for more information about football trips for women. See also http://futebolfemininoportugal.com/

WALKING FOOTBALL

Strictly for the over 50's, we are now able to help you with visits and competitions for walking football teams. There are a growing number of active walking football teams in the Algarve. Contact us if you would like a one-off game or perhaps we can organise a small tournament. Our second such successful venture will take place in Albufeira on 20th March, featuring twelve teams on three pitches, with a mix of locals and teams from UK.

Liga NOS (Superliga) - eighteen teams

The current season ended on 22nd May and resumes mid August.

Portimonense (the team based in Portimão) were second division champions in season 2016 - 2017 and will therefore play in the top division next season. It remains to be seen where they will play their big matches.

A bit about their ground -

They play in Portimão's city centre municipal stadium, a short walk from buses and trains. It is an 'old fashioned' ground in that there are steep terraces close to the pitch and no running track etc around it. To be honest it would barely pass muster in the UK National League (5th tier) let alone the top division of a national competition. Spectator facilities are minimal, there are few toilets, one portable bar, no match day programmes etc.

Their website is www.portimonense.pt. The stadium holds about 5,000 . Season average thus far is 1808, but there have been a couple of crowds of around 2,500 and, with free admission, the crowd at the final home game was 4417. If it's looking like rain, be aware that the entire stadium, apart from the executive area, has no roof cover.

Note for visitors - children under 6 years old are not allowed in. The price of tickets for next season will be rather more than the 5 Euros they asked for this season just ended. They have never sold tickets on line, the only option for non season ticket holders was to pay on the day. I shall update ticketing information as and when available.

There is a fairly large free car park outside, which does get full as it also serves two large apartment blocks. There are other places to park nearby. For those coming by bus, the ground is 4 minutes walk from the main bus stop area on Avenida Guarané. However, given TV schedules, it is unlikely that many games will be played at times allowing journeys by train or bus.

The Lisbon based teams of Benfica , Sporting and Belenenses are about 3 to 4 hours drive from the Algarve or between 4 and 5 hours by bus or train. That includes the time spent in the city getting to the ground. It is impossible to travel to and from their games by train unless staying overnight. If going by coach (bus to non UK readers)  you will have a long wait (until 0100) before your return journey! ALL Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto matches are shown live on TV and are therefore played in the evenings, sometimes kicking off as late as 9.15pm on Sundays!.

Superliga games are almost all scheduled for television purposes and are played over Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings. Very rarely does a team play at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, the 'default' time for kickoffs.

Dates and times of matches are confirmed four to six weeks in advance, except at the end of the season when certain games are ordered to be played at the same time, at less than a week's notice! Fixture dates and times can be found on the official Superliga website which also has links to the club websites.

There is virtually no midweek football (ie Tuesday or Wednesday) anywhere in Portugal below the top two Divisions.

Apart from games involving the 'big three' and the honourable exceptions of Braga and Guimarães, crowds often number less than 5,000.

Segunda Liga - Ledman Liga Pro

With Portimonense promoted and Olhanense relegated, there will be no Algarve team at this level in season 2017 - 2018.

The second tier of Portuguese football is, sadly, played in almost empty stadia. Average crowd for this season was 1082, about 10% more than last season and boosted by some larger crowds in the final weeks as the glory hunters came out.  The teams relegated last season continued to attract much bigger crowds than the majority.

Table below are the attendance figures after the 42 full rounds of matches. The biggest crowds of the season come from clubs offering free admission for some games, Leixões managed to treble their normal attendance for their last four games, despite having nothing to play for. Portimonense, the Algarve's leading club, did the same for their last home game and more than doubled the crowd, almost filling the stadium. Portimonense won the league and are promoted to the top division, see above.

Portugal Segunda Liga Attendance Chart Season 2016/7

Average Total Highest Lowest
Crowd 1082 499879 5813 0*
Ranking for
attendances

Figures above are season summary all matches










12 910 18200 3324 465 Ac. Viseu
1 2570 53962 3542 1737 Academica Coimbra
7 1349 28333 3000 504 AD Fafe
8 1153 24219 3500 550 CD Aves
13 892 18725 1613 343 Cova Piedade
2 2503 52555 4164 1075 FC Famalicão
16 606 12733 1526 393 FC Penafiel
18 565 11855 1148 259 FC Porto B
9 1065 23432 1890 627 FC Vizela
11 965 20266 2762 442 Gil Vicente FC
3 1906 40027 5813 0 Leixões SC *
4 1808 37962 4417 696 Portimonense
19 408 8561 740 0 SC Braga B *
20 304 6381 637 137 SC Covilhã
17 569 11956 1116 328 SC Freamunde
21 289 6063 821 145 SC Olhanense
15 736 15458 1331 283 SL Benfica B
22 274 5754 451 94 Sporting CP B
10 1040 21835 2642 342 Sta. Clara
14 781 16397 1723 352 Un. Madeira
6 1391 29204 2303 746 Varzim SC
5 1714 36001 3201 1021 Vitória Guimarães B

The Algarve's other second tier team, Olhanense, finished bottom and are relegated to the third tier.

* Leixôes were ordered to play their first two games behind closed doors as a result of disorder at matches the previous season. Their games in April and May have been free admission. Crowds have gone up from around 1,300 to over 5,000 which shows what a lot of cheapskates they must be up there. Normal admission is only 5 or 10 Euros! Braga B also had one game behind locked doors following crowd disorder this season.

The League has the 'B' teams of several top flight clubs eg FC Porto, Benfica and Sporting CP.

Current league table http://www.ligaportugal.pt/pt/liga/classificacao/20162017/ledmanligapro

Olhanense are now doomed to relegation down to the third tier! They play at the  Estadio José Arcanjo in Olhão. This is near the centre of town, not far from the main N125 road and McDonald's. The tall floodlights can be seen from a long distance. Average crowd this  season 289, down by 25% from last season as they ended rock-bottom of the league. There is little cover from the elements on one side, none at all on the other. There is a car park outside and street parking a few minutes walk away.

They have an official website in Portuguese only and do have a small number of resident British fans who meet before the game in a bar opposite the main entrance.

FIXTURES

Segunda Liga matches are almost always played on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at 3pm or 4pm. However every now and then there is an 11.15am kick-off for television. Midweek matches are usually played in the afternoon to avoid the cost of floodlights etc. Kick off times should be checked on the official website or locally.

A particular problem with the Segunda Liga is that many matches are played out of sequence, either brought forward or postponed for a few weeks. However the official website lists games strictly by 'Jornada' or round of matches. The quick way to get a team's fixtures in chronological order is to click on the team name in the league table, then, when the next screen opens, click on the 'Ver Jogos' (see games) tab, which will list results and fixtures in date sequence. Bear in mind that these may be correct only for the next three or four weeks.

 Kickoff times are confirmed about three weeks in advance. Admission for the general public for league matches is normally 10 Euros, although Portimonense are currently only charging €5!

Confirmed fixture dates and times can be found on the official Superliga website which also has links to the club websites. Clubs do not produce programmes and few have club shops.

Portuguese FA Cup/ League Cup

The Portuguese FA Cup is open to all teams in the National setup, including those in Madeira and the Azores. Almost all games are played at the weekend, as the leagues mostly consist of between 12 and 16 teams, thus creating plenty of spare dates. The only regional teams allowed to enter are, generally, the league runner's up and the regional cup winners.  The fixtures can be found at www.zerozero.pt but kickoff times are harder to find and will have to be checked locally.

The League Cup (Taça CTT) is played by the Superliga and Segunda Liga teams only. It's a rule that a majority of players must be under 23. Normally very few people bother to attend.  The final was played at the Algarve stadium, underdogs Moreirense were the winners.

Campenonato Nacional Seniores - Campeonato Prio

Division II is split into several regional sections each of ten teams. The Algarve is included in section H. The League is played in two phases. After the first round of 22 matches, the top teams play a second round for promotion places, the bottom ones play to avoid relegation. The series is now concluded.

Five Algarve teams were in the League this season  : Farense (relegated from Segunda Liga) Louletano, Lusitano VRSA - Vila Real de Santo António, Armacanenses (based in Armação de Pêra) and Almancil.

The second phase ended with all five Algarve teams being neither promoted nor relegated. Next season therefore, with the addition of Olhanense (relegated from the second tier) and the Algarve League champions Moncarapachense, there will be seven Algarve teams playing at this level in 2017 - 2018.

Various websites and newspapers publish the fixture list, but rarely are kickoff times included. Up to date League tables plus last and next games can be seen here in English - external link.

Games are usually played on Sunday afternoons at 3pm (4pm in April and May, and 5pm in September), but check kickoff times locally as they may vary. There are no midweek matches unless there is a postponement to be rescheduled.

Admission is normally 7 Euros. Attendances for the Algarve teams are around 150 at the most.

The best place to check for fixtures and kickoff times is Portuguese FA Website

Farense, the team of Faro, play in the now renovated city centre São Luis stadium, which has a capacity of about 10,000. The stadium is about 15 minutes walk from the railway and bus stations. Average crowd last season was  834 with very low crowds as they struggled and failed to avoid relegation. They did have a couple of crowds of around 1500 for the two local derbies, but number fell off as they slid towards the bottom of the table! There is no telling how many turn up for Third tier matches, attendances are not published.

There is by the way no cover from the elements on the non-members side of the stadium.

They have a web site page http://scfarense1910.blogspot.co.uk/ but the quality seems to vary from week to week. It's only in Portuguese despite the UK web address.

Louletano mostly played in the town centre stadium, but did play a couple of times in the 28.000 seat Algarve Stadium. That easily accommodated their average crowd of 120.

The Algarve League

This is the lowest level of football in the Algarve region and is a semi-professional league roughly the equivalent of a good English county FA league.  The new season is now under way and will be split into two phases. The top six will then played another round of matches between them to determine champions and promotion, the bottom six to avoid relegation. Admission to matches is €2,50, attendances rarely exceed 100!

The championship was decided on the final day of the season. The leaders, Quarteirense B were two points ahead of Moncarapachense,  who they travelled to meet on Saturday 20th. Moncarapachense won 3-1, thus winning the league and gaining promotion to the national third tier.

ALGARVE DIVISION ONE TOP SIX FINAL


Teams carried their points through from the 22 match first phase.

The Algarve League games are normally played on SATURDAYS normally at 3pm (4pm In April, 5pm May and 4pm September) but as before fixtures can change, often at short notice. Best check locally if you can. The local FA website usually publishes changes to the fixture lists with confirmed kickoff times on the TUESDAY prior to the weekend concerned. The local press does not list kickoff times in their information.

A problem is that kickoff times and even match dates are altered with as little as a week's warning. It is difficult therefore to keep up to date as none of the clubs has an official website and the FA website does not highlight any changes. So if forget to look...

Fixtures (with kickoff times) can be seen at  http://www.afalgarve.pt/index.php?Itemid=355  then click 'Jogos a realizar' for the date you need. Fixtures and current league table can also be seen here. Reminder that ko times for more than 2 or 3 weeks ahead are subject to change.

I list all fixtures with kickoff times each Monday or Tuesday at www.albufeira.com/forum

Imortal (Albufeira) play in the Municipal Stadium just outside the town centre. Location Map here. For Imortal's results and fixtures click here. Most other grounds are pretty well in the centre of the town or village and are not hard to find. Moncarapachense have now moved into their new ground in the town. I do not know where it is!

The neat ground of Ferreiras FC is right in the village centre.  Ferreiras is 3 miles / 5km from Albufeira, easily reachable by bus or taxi if you don't drive.

The Quarteirense and Quarteira SC shared stadium is a bleak all-purpose municipal facility on the border between Vilamoura and Quarteira. It's only 6 or 7 minutes walk from the McDonalds in Vilamoura. The buses from and back to Albufeira stop about 5 minutes walk away. Map here.

Second Division

The second Division has been won by Algarve Clube Futebol, who are based in the rather remote outpost of Salir. They will be promoted to Division One.

The Second Division consisted of 16 teams. Fixtures and league table here.

Full list of teams and grounds.  Because of ground sharing, many matches are being played at 6pm /1800hrs on Saturdays, especially at the Olhão stadium which is the little one by the way (to the north of the town centre)  not the big one used by Olhanense. Most of these grounds have all weather synthetic grass.

4 ao Cubo – Associação Desportiva de Olhão - Estádio Municipal de Olhão
Albufeira Futsal Clube - Estádio Municipal de Albufeira (most games are played on the adjacent all-weather ptich)
Algarve Clube Futebol SAD - Parque Desportivo Municipal J A Teixeira in Salir
Associação Rec. Desp. Cultural Mentes do Desporto  - Bellavista Stadium in Parchal
Carvoeiro United FCCU - now playing at Estombar
Clube Desportivo Maritimo Olhanense - Estádio Municipal de Olhão
Clube Desportivo Odiaxere - Campo das Eiras
Clube Futebol Esperança de Lagos 'B'- Estádio Municipal de Lagos
Clube Recreio Desporto Santaluziense - Campo do Santaluziense (Santa Luzia, near Tavira)
Guia Futebol Clube - Complexo Desportivo Arsénio Catuna real grass - Guia FC play at a neat stadium just outside the village centre. Map here.
Juventude Desportiva Monchiquense - Parque Desportivo JD Monchiquense
Mexilhoeira Grande Futebol Clube - Campo Municipal de Mexilhoeira Grande
Padernense Clube - Estádio João Campos, Paderne
Quarteirense Futebol SAD 'B' - Estádio Municipal Quarteira on the second pitch
Sistema Futebol Clube - Monte Gordo - expelled from the League for 'aggravated refusal to pay fines' which as they clocked up €840 worth in one match is hardly surprising!
Sporting Clube Olhanense SAD 'B' - Estádio Municipal de Olhão
União Desportiva Recreativa Sambrazense  - Campo Sousa Uva in São Bras de Alportel

Algarve Cup

The Algarve Cup is the regional cup competition and most teams enter, including those in the national Leagues.

The final will be on Saturday 27th May, between Quarteirense and Lusitano VRSA. The venue will be the Olhanense stadium in Olhão, ko time 1730hrs / 530pm.

English/Scottish football on TV

Many bars in the Algarve, especially those run by British people, have UK satellite dishes or internet streams. In the Algarve you will almost always be able to find somewhere showing the football. Some bars will also show Scottish games, but you may have to look rather harder!

If you are coming to the Albufeira area and need to know a good bar in which to watch a game near where you are staying, go to www.albufeira.com/forum and ask there for a recommendation.

With the demise of the satellite signal that allowed most UK channels to be easily received here, it is no longer simple for some bars to show matches screened on BT Sport, BBC, ITV etc. Most now have devised various internet based solutions of varying quality and quantity. Sky Sports channels are still available through satellite, but we understand they will soon also go.

Portugal's Sport TV3 channel shows English Premier League matches each weekend and during midweek,  including the 3pm Saturday matches not available to UK viewers. English language commentary is not currently available. This and other subscription channels on SportTV also show FA Cup and League Cup matches.

Many bars in tourist areas (ie the Algarve) have access to various satellite channels, notably Bein Sport (Al Jazeera), which show all English Premier League games with English commentary, also some have Eir Sports (Irish) channels. You can find bars showing three games at the same time on a Saturday afternoon.

Portugal's SportTV also shows live US Major League, Dutch, Italian, French, German and Spanish games fairly regularly. You may also get Brazilian games late at night.

Spanish Football?

If you have a car while you are here, you might be able to get over to Huelva or Seville. Seville play in the Spanish First Division of course as do the other team in Seville, Real Betis.

The local team just across the border in Huelva, called Recreativo,  are in the third division for this season.

You can get fixtures from an English Language website at www.soccer-spain.com; which also has information about kickoff times and ticket sales generally. Beware that in Spain, most games are scheduled for TV purposes only a few days in advancethe weekend concerned.  Tickets are therefore not normally available until a few days beforehand. Many games kick off as late as 10.15pm.

The city of Seville is easily accessible from the Algarve by car, but there are no trains and by bus it is very hard work! Click here for public transport information Algarve - Seville.

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