Cragnotti stands down as Lazio boss

BOOTED OUT: Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti and his son Massimo Cragnotti make their way out of the ailing team's headquarters after the former resigned as president during a board meeting in Rome on Friday. - APpic

ROME: Sergio Cragnotti has resigned as president of cash-strapped Italian First Division club Lazio after 11 years in charge. 

Lawyer Ugo Longo was sworn in as the new president at a shareholders’ meeting late on Friday. 

He and the new board, which includes team coach Roberto Mancini, will meet next week to discuss ways of easing Lazio’s financial difficulties.  

Former Lazio star Mancini said Cragnotti, whose canned food company Cirio put the Rome club up for sale after running into money problems of their own, would be sorely missed. 

“I’m very sorry to see him go as he was very important to me,” Mancini told the Corriere della Sera. 

“I am also sad for the players. It is upsetting to see it end this way because Cragnotti has given everything for this club. 

“We shared many wonderful moments together. He was a super president. 

“But he has made this decision for the good of Lazio. It’s a great show of affection for this club.” 

One of the first problems for the new board to address is finding the money to pay the players who have not received their wages for four months. 

Goalkeeper Angelo Perruzzi has already threatened to leave if he is not paid, and several other players are believed to be running out of patience with the club after a series of empty promises.        

The other concern is whether the club will have to sell some of its star names such as Dutch defender Jaap Stam and Argentine striker Claudio Lopez to pay off creditors. 

Several banks, however, have agreed to loan the troubled Serie A club around 50 million euros to ease its debts. – AFP  

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