3 September ~ On July 14, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) issued a press release stating that the two initial World Cup objectives (qualification for the tournament and qualification for the knock-out phase) had been achieved and thanking everyone involved. While it was obvious to all in Portugal that performances in South Africa had been disappointingly pale, the FPF seemed happy enough, and coach Carlos Queiroz saw his bank balance jump by €720,000 (£600,000) in bonuses.

Just over a week later, on July 23, the FPF launched an inquiry into Queiroz, based on a report by the Portuguese state-controlled Anti-doping Authority (AdoP). This claimed the coach had disrupted the taking of samples at the Portugal training camp on May 16 in Covilhã, in the north of the country, shortly before the squad were to leave for South Africa. When the anti-doping team had turned up at the hotel at 7.45 am and wanted to wake the players up, Queiroz was livid. "Why doesn't Luís Horta [AdoP president] go and do tests on his mother's c**t?" he spat at the members of the testing team.

Queiroz called several high-profile character witnesses to the subsequent FPF hearing. The FC Porto president, Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, suggested that this kind of language was common in football and demonstrated it on a journalist in an impromptu press conference. "How's it going, you son of a whore?" he japed. Sir Alex Ferguson was naturally sympathetic with Queiroz: "He was only defending his players. He has always been a gentleman."

The FPF's disciplinary council suspended Queiroz for a month, meaning that he would miss the opening Euro 2012 qualifying games against Cyprus and Norway – Queiroz's assistant and perennial caretaker Agostinho Oliveira will take charge. The council did not find that Queiroz had disrupted the taking of samples, however, but AdoP did, and this week extended the suspension to six months. Queiroz will also miss the qualifiers against Denmark and Iceland.

But no one in Portugal seriously believes that Queiroz can continue. The FPF's action is seen as trying to nudge Queiroz out without having to pay compensation. He is unlikely to oblige – in an interview with TV channel SIC on Tuesday, he spoke of protecting "the honour, dignity, prestige and reputation that I have built up over the last 30 years". He is to appeal against AdoP's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, a process that could drag on for many months.

Meanwhile, the Selecção is without a fixed coach. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has said that this will not affect the team's performance in the upcoming qualifiers as "we have a lot of great players who can play on auto-pilot". ("I'm the auto-pilot," retorted Oliveira.) It would be reasonable to suspect, though, that the ongoing imbroglio could affect the squad psychologically ahead of those games.

There might be a danger that the FPF's failure to resolve the issue could also affect Portugal and Spain's bid for the 2018/2022 World Cups – in a poll during Tuesday night's discussion show, Trio de Ataque, 85 per cent of the respondents thought it would. Apparently, though, the subject was not broached during FIFA's inspection of FC Porto's Estádio do Dragão and Benfica's Estádio da Luz this week. Phil Town

Comments (3)
Comment by Martin Hatter 2010-09-03 22:00:28

A lucky break for the Portuguese, perhaps. I can't imagine they'll be particularly concerned at not having Queiroz in charge for the first 4 qualifiers but I don't think I'll spend too much time worrying about him. He's a mediocre coach but he always seems to land on his feet.

Comment by erwin 2010-09-07 09:23:02

"A lucky break for the Portuguese, perhaps. I can't imagine they'll be particularly concerned at not having Queiroz in charge for the first 4 qualifiers."

That's right, Martin ... although he was to all intents and purposes in charge of the scandalous 4-4 home draw with Cyprus on Friday (picked the team, presumably the tactics and was in the stands), and will be on hand for the Norway game. A poll published in sports daily 'O Jogo' today, Tuesday, has 82.5% of repondents saying they want to see the back of him. Only problem is ... one of the replacements mooted is the totally bonkers Manuel Cajuda, God help us.

Comment by erwin 2010-09-09 20:00:13

Carlos Queiroz has been sacked by the Portuguese Football Federation after a meeting in Lisbon on Thursday. Who will replace him? Top of the list appears to be former Sporting coach Paulo Bento, but former Spain coach Luís Aragonés is also on it. Portugal have started their EURO 2012 campaign in disastrous fashion, drawing 4-4 at home to Cyprus and losing 0-1 to Norway in Oslo.

Related articles

Sporting president under pressure to step down after fans attack players
Embed from Getty Images // Several players were injured when supporters stormed Sporting’s training ground ahead of the cup final, rounding...
Hope for 2018 ~ part two
Embed from Getty Images // No more gambling ads, reform in Spain and Italy, and England playing in the Football League – WSC contributors&...
The best and worst moments of 2017 ~ part one
Embed from Getty Images // From Scotland’s failures to the triumph of England’s Under-17s, via John Terry, astounding Cup runs and...