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Sporting slam Benfica over fan treatment

The two sides were set to meet in the eagerly-anticipated Lisbon derby on Sunday, but the match had to be cancelled before kick-off for safety reasons after parts of the stadium fell on to the pitch.

The match will now be played on Tuesday as Sporting target three points to take them back above Porto and Benfica to the top of the table, but the visitors were not impressed with the treatment of supporters at the weekend.

Evacuation procedures were set in motion after debris from the roof came down at the Estadio da Luz, but Sporting are adamant that the safety of their fans was not guaranteed.

A statement on their website read: "Supporters of Sporting SAD were secured to avoid potential conflicts between supporters of both clubs. The supporters of Sporting SAD would have been previously forwarded to the inner corridors of the stadium, where they would wait until guaranteed safe exit from the stadium and duly escorted by the police, as is usual procedure.

"However, none of that happened. Indeed, members and supporters of Sporting who were in Estadio da Luz were retained in the stands underneath the cover for a period of approximately 30 minutes after the departure of the Benfica fans.

"No one could guarantee that the fall of parts of the roof would not also happen in the stadium area where supporters of Sporting were. They were subject to hazard.

"Incidentally, Benfica were concerned first with the departure of journalists and press, and then with the departure of the Sporting fans from the stands to the respective interior corridor.

"During these 30 minutes, security officers allowed some fans to move on to the inner hallway, whose dimensions were clearly insufficient for the amount of fans present there at that the time. Here, safety of the supporters of Sporting was not guaranteed and were ‘trapped’ between the walls and the railings of the corridor 3.

"Sporting fans were in perilous danger about 40 minutes and then allowed to leave via the stadium stairs.

"In a situation of widespread danger to all those present at the stadium, Sporting SAD deplores the differential treatment in the evacuation of fans of both teams as unacceptable and irresponsible, manifested by the security agents responsible for Benfica and the organizing of competition."