Benfica Should Take Responsibility for the Daily Mail Case

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There has been a lot of backlash against Benfica from football fans all over Portugal and even the club’s own supporters. What led to this frustration is a series of emails which were exposed by FC Porto communication director, Francisco Marques showing conversations between Benfica and several Portuguese league officials.

In addition, the Lisbon club was under fire for not discharging Pedro Guerra as Benfica TV content director right away even though he was implicated in the emails with various conversations between him and former referee, Adão Mendes.

Other things revealed in the emails were talks between Paulo Gonçalves (Benfica Club Association legal advisor), Luís Filipe Vieira (Benfica’s president) and Mário Figueiredo (Portuguese league president). Also, Porto claims that when Fernando Gomes was the president of the league federation, Benfica was spying on him as emails have shown SMS attachments from his personal phone. All these allegations undermine Portuguese league legality as a whole. Therefore, they should be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. On a funny note, the emails also exposed officials from Benfica who allegedly paid a witch to perform witchcraft.

Benfica’s actions towards the email revelation were never consistent. First, they denied the allegations against them. Then, they said they were hacked. People started speculating whether the content of these emails was valid or not. Benfica responded stating, yes they were hacked, but the emails were altered. And now, Benfica is in court suing FC Porto for 50 million euros in damages for “unfair competition, illegitimate access to private correspondence, defamation and breach of business secrecy". But they won’t stop there. They are also suing Porto’s president Pinto da Costa, Porto Canal (where the emails were revealed) and Porto Club Association.

What Is the Daily Mail Case?

For some reason, the British publication, Daily Mail was dragged into this discussion. Not for anything they’ve done, but rather for something Benfica TV claimed they’ve done. José Manuel Antunes, a Benfica TV commentator announced on August 30, 2017, that Porto is on the list of “Most Corrupt Clubs in Europe”. Based on the Benfica TV graph, Porto was placed at number three, but the club didn’t take kindly to the supposed list so they started investigating immediately. It turned out to be a fake list and even Daily Mail lawyers verified that such article never existed.
Daily Mail lawyers denying Benfica TV article. Photo: Twitter.com @franciscomarkes

Porto is suing as per their right hence why Benfica TV tried to backtrack. The show “Lanças Apontadas” transmitted on September 13, 2017, started with Benfica TV director Ricardo Palacin declaring that opinions said on Lanças Apontadas are not a representation of the Club’s official opinions because individuals on the panel are not part of Benfica's directive or organizational board.

Also, José Manuel Antunes said the article was circulating in his social media and only after he investigated, he decided to share it on Live TV. He also adds that spectators can still find the article on Google cache - which is not true. Benfica TV even went on further to show a screenshot of the email which stated “The most corrupt european clubs in football history”. Benfica might get in legal trouble with other clubs. The list mentions Marseille, Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, Besiktas, Olympiakos, Rangers, Reggina and more. 


Benfica TV Graphics shown on "Lanças Apontadas". Photo: Bancada.pt

Fake Daily Mail article as shown on Benfica TV. Photo: Papoila Saltitante

Final Opinion

"I, like many, have tested the provided link and wasn't able to access the supposed content. So since no one is anywhere close to finding the content, it remains for José Manuel Antunes to immediately prove his version of the story or to disappear from Benfica TV as soon as possible with an apology to the Benfiquistas. It's easy and it doesn't cost a thing. This time, the silence won't be enough. Don't take too long to prove what you said because the case is gaining international attention." 
Papoila Saltitante, Benfica supporter & blogger. 
Benfica should start being more transparent with football fans and their supporters. The more they keep this in the dark, the more guilty they appear. I believe Pedro Guerra wasn’t immediately fired from Benfica TV to not appear guilty even though Benfica’s fans didn’t want him there. “You’re a disgrace”, a Benfica supported yelled at him outside of the stadium. Obviously, with increasing pressures, Guerra has resigned, but many suspect that he was actually fired.

"We can't have someone in the communication department who talks a lot but does't know how to communicate. This club has to be the best in everything, not just inside the field. I don't see these people representing Benfica"
António Simões, ex-Benfica player

Everyone knows the Daily Mail article was a mistake, why can’t the club take responsibility for it? Furthermore, if someone made such a careless mistake, are they competent enough to be on Benfica TV? In the same manner, the Daily Mail writers and editors will not spell “European” as “european” because that’s grammatically wrong. That’s just one of the signs they’ve missed to further the defamation against Porto in any way possible

Ironically, mainstream media are not covering the Daily Mail case. You can’t keep people in the dark and hope that the problem would go away, it’ll come back and haunt you. Benfica also claims that Porto and Sporting are working together for its demise. In fact, no one is more frustrated than Portuguese football fans who are tired of corruption and want fair play. Porto having had a corruption case in the past, doesn’t automatically make Benfica innocent. At least, Porto took responsibility, something Benfica should start doing. They owe it to their own supporters who pour millions of euros into buying tickets, merchandise, and Benfica TV subscription to support their club.

References

O Jogo. (2017). FC Porto Avisou os Clubes Visados pelo Benfica na Pretensa Lista de Clubes Corruptos. http://www.ojogo.pt/futebol/1a-liga/porto/noticias/interior/fc-porto-8771335.html

O Jogo. (2017). Pedro Guerra Deixa o Canal de Televisão do Benfica. http://www.ojogo.pt/futebol/1a-liga/benfica/noticias/interior/pedro-guerra-deixa-o-canal-de-televisao-do-benfica-8683680.html

Publico. (2017). Caso dos Emails: Benfica Exige 50 Milhões de Euros ao FC Porto. https://www.publico.pt/2017/08/04/desporto/noticia/caso-dos-emails-benfica-exige-50-milhoes-de-euros-ao-fc-porto-1781310

Bancada.pt. (2017). Graficos que a BTV Mostrou no Programa "Lanças Apontadas".
https://bancada.pt/futebol/portugal/guerra-benfica-vs-fc-porto-toda-a-historia-da-lista-dos-clubes-mais-corruptos

Saltitante, P. (2017) Imagem que José Manuel Antunes Mostrou do Daily. https://aspapoilasdobiscaia.blogspot.com.es/2017/09/a-imagem-que-jose-manuel-antunes.html




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