All tagged Opinion

The Portuguese League is often mocked and disrespected - and I'm okay with it

There's something to be said for enjoying a brand of football that few people get the privilege to indulge in. 

In years gone by, the derogatory terms such as 'farmers league' thrown about by fans of opposing leagues in an attempt to belittle Portuguese football has riled me - as I know is the case for many - but not anymore.    

The snobbery that comes with these statements is not wholly unjustified, of course. It certainly isn't the most illustrious league; there's less money involved, you get superstars leaving far more often than they arrive, and nobody is under any illusion that it's not on the level as a couple of other leagues in terms of prestige and even quality.  But dismissing the Portuguese Primeira Liga entirely has always been the source of great frustration to avid followers of the league, myself included.

But then one day I thought to myself; why should the arrogance and pomp of some people, many of whom have probably never even watched a game of domestic Portuguese football in their lives, be given so much credence?

After all, most people who dismiss leagues like the Portuguese and Russian have never actually sat down to actually watch a game first-hand, and are instead caught in this bubble of La Liga and Premier League football because of the money and platform these leagues have. 

With that comes a strong sense of elitism and entitlement; which is only natural. In some cases, you get this attitude of 'because I watch the best leagues in the world, I can categorically dismiss any other league as semiprofessional, dull and worthless by comparison,' without having watched a single match from the country.

And it's not an uncommon belief at all. Social media is a terrific example. Regularly you will see the achievements and records of the likes of Porto and Benfica harshly critiqued and diminished because the league is made up of 'farmers'. It's a pretty uneducated view by all accounts, but not wholly uncommon. 

And again, it should be stressed, this is not a suggestion that the Portuguese league should be considered on the same level as the likes of La Liga and tthe Bundesliga, but rather a call for a bit more respect for leagues outside that supposed top bracket, and an opening of the mind for other leagues up and down the continent. There's more to football than just the Premier League/La Liga, and feel free to experience it for yourself before dismissing it entirely unworthy of your viewing.

It's perhaps been even more frustrating to hear it about the Portuguese League considering the huge wealth of talent that always comes through the ranks the clubs in the country, before they then get snapped up by clubs in the likes of Spain, England and Germany. These elite leagues have a fair bit of Portuguese Primeira Liga influence, there's no doubt about it, which makes the criticisms of the league even more ironic.


A message to the elitists.