After the state of emergency has ended and a state of calamity has been declared, what measures are in place in the area of sports?

In addition to the general measures that are in place and which also apply to the sports sector (see, for example, the measures in place in the labour or corporate sphere, dealt with in the tabs "Impact on the management of employees" and "Impact on corporate governance"), some specific measures in the area of sports that were adopted during the state of emergency remain in force, notably most of the measures provided for in Decree-Law no. 18-A/2020 of 23 April ("DL 18-A/2020"), regarding:

  • the extension of sports federations’ public utility status and its renewal;
  • amendments to the regulations of sports federations;
  • the duration of the term of office of the members of the bodies of sports federations, as well of professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs affiliated to them;
  • levelling continuous remote training with on-site training;
  • the renewal of registration in the registry of high-performance sports agents;


However, two of the exceptional measures established by DL 18-A/2020 are no longer in effect: (i) the application, beyond the first quarter of 2020, of the duodecimal system of sports development programme agreements; and (ii) the suspension of the obligation to renew sports medical examinations.

As to the duodecimal system of sports development programme agreements, Decree-Law no. 273/2009 of 1 October provides that the granting entity may agree with the beneficiaries to an amendment to the programme agreement relating to the previous year, so that the monthly amounts corresponding to one twelfth of the previous year are paid until a new programme agreement is executed. This amendment may not be in force for more than three months. However, one of the exceptional measures provided for in DL 18-A/2020, established that the limitation to the three-month duration of the amendment to the development programme agreements would not be in force during the year 2020 and the duodecimal system could be in force throughout 2020.

However, no legislation has in the meantime extended the application of the exceptional measure indicated above. Thus, considering that this measure was expressly limited in duration to 2020, we consider that the general duodecimal system and, in particular, the limitation of the three-month duration of the amendment, came back into force in 2021. Thus, we understand that, as of 1 April 2021, the duodecimal system cannot be applied to the 2019 development programme agreements and to those that may have been concluded in 2020.

During the year 2020 and until the programme agreements come into effect for the same year, the limitations on the application of the duodecimal structure shall not apply; this means that benefits may continue to be paid and there shall be no limitation on the duration of the amendment.

With regard to the exceptional measure of suspension of the annual obligation to renew medical-sports examinations, which had been adopted by Article 8 of DL 18-A/2020, this was, in the meantime, repealed by Decree-Law No. 39-A/2020 of 16 July. The obligation to renew medical-sports examinations provided for in Order No. 11318/2009 of 8 May has been in force since July 17, 2020.

On the other hand, the Council of Ministers Resolution No 33-A/2021 established the following additional measures to support sports:

  1. Creation of the "Reactivate Sport" measure, consists in the allocation of funds through the Support Fund for the Recovery of Physical and Sports Activity, aimed at helping sports clubs in the process of resuming federal sports activity;
  2. Approval of the "Federations +Sports Program", a credit line directed to sports federations holders of the status of sports public utility.


Until when was the sports federations' public status utility extended?

Given that the Summer Olympics were to take place in 2020, sports federations would be obliged to apply for renewal of public utility status during 2020.

However, since the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee have announced the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games and the 2020 Paralympic Games to the year 2021, DL 18-A/2020 extends the sports federations' public utility status in force on 24 April 2020, until 31 December 2021, with the sports federations being able to, until the latter date, request the renewal of the status for effects until the end of the subsequent Olympic cycle (scheduled for 2024).


From what point in time do changes to regulations of sports federations take effect?

Whenever the amendments in question aim to respond to constraints caused by the public health emergency prompted by COVID-19, amendments to the regulations of sports federations may be approved, which, by virtue of the provisions of DL 18-A/2020, may be immediately effective and applicable in the current sports seasons, being qualified as amendments imposed by law, instead of only being effective and applicable as of the beginning of the following sports season, as imposed by the Legal Framework of Sports Federations ("RJFD", Decree-Law no. 248-B/2008, of December 31, in its current wording).

Other amendments remain subject to the general rules.


What are the effects on the terms of office of members of bodies of sports federations, professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs?

Where the election of members of the bodies of sports’ federations, professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs affiliated to sports federations, were to take place in 2020, it may take place in 2021.

To this effect, it is required that the respective general meeting, expressly convened for this purpose, decides favourably on the terms under which the current terms of office are extended accordingly.

This general meeting is subject to the rules set out in the RJFD, whereby postal voting is not permitted (as it is not an elective general meeting) but the use of videoconferencing systems will be allowed.

Whenever sports federations, as well as professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs affiliated to them, make use of the faculty to postpone the elections of members of bodies until 2021, such term of office beginning therein will elapse at the end of the next Olympic cycle, foreseen for 2024. 


I have been taking remote training sessions for the revalidation of the professional title of sports coach / technical director / technical of physical exercise. What relevance is attributed to these remote training sessions?

The remote training sessions carried out since 13 March 2020 shall be equivalent to face-to-face training sessions for the purpose of determining the number of hours required to obtain continuous training credit units.

Each five hours of remote training shall correspond to one credit unit.


In the context of COVID-19, were specific measures approved on sports employment agreements?

Employment measures approved for all standard employment agreements shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to sports employment agreements.

On this issues, please revert to the information in the tab "Impact on the management of employees".


I am a high-performance athlete and I have not yet renewed my registration in the registry of high-performance sports agents. Will I be penalized? What if I'm a coach or a referee?

The obligation to renew the registration of athletes, coaches and referees in the registry of high-performance sports agents is suspended for as long as there are no international competitions taking place.

This suspension means, among others, that the financial support foreseen (which is usually dependent on the registration and annual renewal, with the penalty being immediate expiration) will not suffer any penalty as long as there are no international competitions taking place.

However, in the case of athletes, coaches and referees of disciplines whose respective international competitions have, in the meantime, resumed, the rules for renewing registration in the registry of high-performance sports agents as provided for in Decree-Law no. 272/2009, of 1 October, will again apply.


I will travel outside of Portugal for a sports competition. Will I have to comply with an isolation period at my return?

According to the current rules applicable during the state of alert, passengers on flights from countries on a list to be defined by Government ordinance, must comply, after entering Portugal, with a prophylactic isolation period of 14 days, at home or at a place indicated by the health authorities.
However, it will not be necessary to comply with the above isolation period in the case of passengers who travel exclusively for the practice of sports activities integrated into international professional competitions, included in a list defined by Government ordinance, provided that the fulfilment of appropriate measures to reduce the risk of contagion is guaranteed, including avoiding non-sports contacts, and compliance with the rules and guidelines defined by the DGS.


Are there measures specific for the online gambling sector?

In addition to the general suspension of sporting competitions at both international and national levels - which has led to the absence of fixed-odds bets during the last weeks -  article 3/1 of Law no. 7/2020, of April 19, 2020 allowed for the imposition of access limitations to online gambling platforms providing games of chance, with the objective to protect consumers, notably minors, young adults and people with addiction problems.

Article 3/2 also set forth that the imposition of access limitations to online gambling platforms ought to be regulated within five days counting from the entering into force of Law no. 7/2020 (it has entered into force on 11 of April).

However, more than a year since the entering info force of this Law, no regulation has been enacted.


Until when shall the specific measures applicable to the online gambling sector be enforceable?

Although until now there is no regulation detailing the potential access limitations to online gambling platforms providing games of chance, article 3/1 of Law no. 7/2020 is express in determining that such limitations, when imposed, could only be enforceable until the end of the state of emergency period.

Currently, the state of emergency period is no longer in force, thus, the limitations of access to online gaming and betting platforms, whose regulation has not yet been enacted, are not in force.


What should be done in respect of tickets sold for sporting events which did not take place on the scheduled date?

Following the decisions of the various sports associations and other entities responsible for the organisation of sporting events, the various competitions were suspended, with several sporting events having been cancelled.

As a result, ticket purchasers were unable to attend the events, even though they had paid the respective ticket price. In this context of uncertainty as to the continuation of competitions, it is possible that the return of the price may have to take place, which will still depend on an analysis of each specific case.


What should be done about tickets sold for shows, to take place in sports venues, which will not take place or will be postponed?

In this regard, please refer to the exceptional measures analysed in the tab "Impact on the management of agreements in the Arts & Culture sector".


Has the epidemiological crisis affected the processing of judicial, administrative and arbitration proceedings and the procedures before administrative bodies?

In this regard, please refer to the exceptional measures analysed in the tab "Impact on litigation matters", applicable, in particular, to proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


What are the restrictions for attending a sporting event?

For access or permanence in sports venues it is necessary to wear a mask or visor, in accordance with Decree-Law No. 78-A/2021. During the current state of alert, regulated by Council of Ministers Resolution No 135-A/2021, these events must comply with DGS guidelines. Where the number of participants exceeds that defined by the DGS, the organisers shall, if it were not already necessary, request the presentation by all participants of their EU COVID Digital Certificate.



This information is being updated on a regular basis.

All information contained herein and all opinions expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to substitute recourse to expert legal advice for the resolution of real cases.