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Crisis hit Sporting Lisbon replace president

Sporting Lisbon fans frisked by police as they arrive at Saturday’s AGM to vote for the crisis-club president’s resignation © AFP / MIGUEL RIOPA

Lisbon, Portugal, Jun 24 – Bruno de Carvalho, the president of crisis-hit Sporting Lisbon, said Sunday that he was standing down after supporters voted that he should resign.

“For me it’s over,” De Carvalho said in a long post on Facebook on Sunday. “I quit the club forever.”

A general meeting attended by 9,400 members on Saturday voted overwhelmingly by 71% for the 46-year-old’s resignation.

The ‘Socios’, or fan stakeholders in the club, appointed a former president the 73-year-old Jose Sousa Cintra to oversee the club presidency until fresh elections in September.

“Sporting is once again a club in which one can have confidence,” Sousa Cintra said.

“And those who have left us can come home, the family is reunited and this is the main thing,” he added.

De Carvalho, who was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017, has been blamed for the poisonous relationship with players which climaxed in an assault by masked and armed fans at the training ground in mid-May.

He was suspended as president last week by a club committee but had refused to stand down.

The club will hold new presidential elections on September 8.

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“I am no longer a member of Sporting,” he wrote in his 740-word Facebook statement, saying that he would he would “never go back to the stands” and would post a letter of resignation as a member would on Monday ending “46 years of intense love”.

De Carvalho, a former leader of an ultra fan group, complained that the club wanted to become more “populist” but that he had been driven out by the “elite”. He also said he had been “cheated” by an “alliance of smelly cretins.”

The crisis at the club began when Sporting lost a Europa League game to Atletico Madrid in April and De Carvalho tweeted ferocious criticism of the players.

When they responded demanding “respect”, he called the players “spoilt brats” and suspended 19 of them, only to back down ahead of the next match.

Shortly before Sporting lost the Portuguese Cup final to unfancied Aves in May, a 50-strong mob of fans invaded the training centre, attacked the squad, savagely beating some players.

Nine players including Portugal internationals at the World Cup Rui Patricio, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes and Gelson Martins have broken their deals with the club since the horrific attack.

And coach Jorge Jesus also quit the team. He has been replaced by former AC Milan and Torino boss Sinisa Mihajlovic.

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