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The artificial pitch of the José Dias de Oliveira Sports Park, in Pousada de Saramagos, was inaugurated on the morning of 23 September this year. Among other leading figures, the ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Famalicão, Paulo Cunha, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Riopele, José Alexandre Oliveira and Custódio Baptista, President of the Joane Sports Group.
The event started with the presentation of the youth squads of the Joane Sports Group, followed by the blessing of the new artificial pitch by Father José Carlos, from the parish of Pousada de Saramagos, and Father Manuel Sousa e Silva, from the parish of Joane.
In an emotional speech, José Alexandre Oliveira recalled that making these facilities “available to GD Joane and to the community of Pousada de Saramagos, which are the two parishes where most of Riopele’s employees live, was always my father’s great dream, and that is why I witness this reopening with great joy”.
He also recalled that, for a long time, the José Dias de Oliveira Sports Park, inaugurated in 1958, was the home of the Riopele Sports Group, a corporate club that managed to play in the Portuguese Premier League and welcomed players who achieved nationwide recognition.
Then, the President of the Joane Sports Group, Custódio Baptista, praised the support provided by Riopele and the Famalicão Municipality, without which “none of this would have been possible”, and stated that, for the club, this is “a dream fulfilled for the benefit of young people”.
Finally, Paulo Cunha, Mayor of Famalicão, thanked Riopele for making its infrastructure available and highlighted the “company’s huge affection for the community”, pointing out that “history will continue to be written by the hundreds of youths who will benefit from these facilities”.
The ceremony ended with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the applause of the nearly four hundred people, including athletes, fans, political and sports leaders, townspeople and Riopele employees, who attended the inauguration.
In the first game in the new artificial pitch of the José Dias de Oliveira Sports Park, the youth squad of the Joane Sports Group beat Bairro da Misericórdia 5-2.
Within the scope of Riopele’s social responsibility policy, and in partnership with the Vila Nova de Famalicão City Council, the works to renovate the facilities and install a synthetic pitch allow offering excellent conditions to the more than 200 athletes who are currently training in the Joane Sports Group, as well as to schools and other local associations.