Sporting Lisbon in shock after horrific gang attack

Sporting’s Dutch international Bas Dost, the club’s top scorer this season, required stitches to his head following the attack. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Sporting Lisbon in shock after horrific gang attack

  • Wearing t-shirts bearing the club’s logo the gang broke into Sporting’s training ground and went on the rampage.
  • The team are meeting their player’s union on Wednesday to discuss their reaction which according to domestic media could see them refuse to play in Sunday’s Cup final against Desportivo das Aves.

LISBON: A 50-strong gang of hooded men brutally attacked Sporting Lisbon players and officials at training on Tuesday leaving the club in shock and casting doubt over their participation in Sunday’s Cup final.
Wearing t-shirts bearing the club’s logo the gang broke into Sporting’s training ground and went on the rampage, terrorizing players and personnel and vandalising dressing rooms.
Sporting’s Dutch international Bas Dost, the club’s top scorer this season, required stitches to his head. A photograph of his bloodied face appeared on social media.
“It was a distressing situation and we are all shocked,” the striker told Dutch news website Algemeen Dagblad.
Argentina international Marcos Acuna and Croatia’s Josip Misic were also assaulted in the raid on Sporting’s Alcochete training base in the Lisbon suburbs.
The team are meeting their player’s union on Wednesday to discuss their reaction which according to domestic media could see them refuse to play in Sunday’s Cup final against Desportivo das Aves.
Another option on the table is ending their contracts with the club.
The horrific incident left Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa “worried by the image this projects of Portugal to the world.”
He added: “I’m concerned as Portugal is a power in professional football, and I’m worried about the seriousness of what’s happened.”
Portuguese police have made 21 arrests, according to the government.
Several hundred Sporting fans made their way to the team’s Alvalde stadium on Tuesday night to lend their support to their stricken team’s players and management.
Supporters group ‘Juventude Leonina’ issued a statement on social media strongly condemning the attack.
“The Juventude Leonina numbers more than 7,000 fans. It deeply regrets what happened and disassociates itself from these events.”


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.