What is going on at fallen giants Sporting Lisbon?

The Portuguese outfit are currently struggling on and off the pitch. So what lies in the future for the club?

A month ago Sporting Lisbon were thrown into more turmoil when it was announced that the entire board, led by President Godinho Lopes, had decided to step down from the club after just two years in charge of proceedings.

It follows plenty of protests from fans in recent months who have seen the former perennial title challengers fall down the pecking order in the Sagres Primeira Liga and currently lie in an astonishingly low 10th place from sixteen.

While their seven point advantage over Moreirense should see them safe in regards to relegation they are off the pace for European qualification and have seen their usual spot amongst the Lisbon elite overtaken by the likes of Braga, Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira.

Their performance in the Europa League has not been any better either. Drawn in Group G of the competition they finished bottom of the group finishing below Genk, FC Basel and embarrassingly they lost to Hungarian side Videoton; managed by former Sporting player Paolo Sousa.

On top of this turmoil there is also considerable anxiety over the finances at the club. In September 2012 the board were annoyed to discover that the 18-times Portuguese champions had been blacklisted as one of 23 clubs who were failing to fulfil their financial obligations. That resulted on the club having their European prize money withheld by UEFA which angered the outgoing President Lopes:

"I can't say I am pleased with the ruckus around this issue. I was sad to see Sporting's name mentioned; there was a communication error."

It is believed the decision was in relation to unpaid fees to other clubs and unpaid taxes and it has also had a negative impact on the commercial aspects of the club which has not helped the club increase their income.

It has left the futures of several of their big name players firmly in doubt with the likes of Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Zakaria Labyad, Jeffren Suarez and Diego Capel all potentially considering a summer exit from the club if they do not reel in the six points necessary to overhaul the likes of Rio Ave and Maritimo in the pursuit of European football.

Such a disaster could leave Sporting facing an uncertain future; bereft of star talent, out of Europe, in financial turmoil and without a board to lead them to success.

The Presidential vote at the end of the season may be the most important moment in the clubs recent history.

What do you make of the turmoil at the Estadio Jose Alvalade?

image: © goulao

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