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Who's worse off? Lisbon clubs wage war of words

  • Reuters, Monday, September 24, 2012 7:23 PM

Portuguese club Sporting fired back at Benfica for meddling in its financial affairs and said its Lisbon rival was "technically broke."

Sporting was responding to comments by Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira, who said last week some financially troubled Portuguese clubs must have used "a magic formula" to survive.

"He made a reference to Sporting's 'millionaire losses,'" said Sporting, which has acknowledged its financial difficulties, in a statement posted on the club website. "Sporting and their fans do not take lessons from Benfica's president. Benfica's liabilities are the biggest ever in the history of Portuguese soccer."

According to financial filings, Benfica has debts of more than $550 million and posted losses of $16 million in 2011-12. Sporting posted losses of almost $60 million in the same period and was one of 23 European clubs to have UEFA prize money withheld because of overdue payments to other teams, their own employees or social and tax authorities.

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