Opponents refusing to play Portuguese club known for 'terror environment'

A fourth-tier team in Portugal have won 11 straight games by forfeit because their opponents refuse to play them, alleging the team threatens players and that their matches take place in a "terror environment."

In just their fifth season of existence, Canelas 2010 are unbeaten though 17 games, having won 16 of them. But that record has been inflated because 12 of the other 13 teams in the division have chosen to incur a €750 fine rather than take the field.

Among the players on Canelas are four members of an infamous fan group of Portuguese giants FC Porto. The team's 41-year-old captain, Fernando Madureira, is also the leader of the "Super Dragons" ultras.

The president of a rival club, Grijo, said the Canelas players regularly intimidate the opposing players and referees.

"We suffered threats, the referees were intimidated and didn't write what happened on the match reports," Manuel Gomes told Spanish newspaper El Pais. "The committees don't receive any complaints, so nobody do nothing."

The club have been the subject of Portuguese media reports this season, and videos purporting to show dirty tactics from Canelas have been posted online.

Madureira, who was invited to join Canelas -- and bring along some friends -- in 2012, told El Pais those videos had been edited with bias to paint the club in a bad light, but he admitted they did like to play "hard, tough and with physical contact."

But two officials on other teams who asked for anonymity from El Pais said Canelas' troublesome actions are not limited to physical play.

"The matches happens in a terror environment on the field and on the stands," one said. "They win all the matches threatening and attacking 20-year-old players."

Another added: "They do this in front of referees and police officers, who don't do anything to avoid it."

If Canelas win their league, they will enter a playoff to be promoted to the third division, the lowest level of professional football in Portugal, and be eligible to play in the Portuguese Cup.