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Champions League exit a financial disaster for Porto: press

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 5 Jun 2008

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Former European champions FC Porto could be forced to sell top players in a bid to rebound financially from their Champions League exclusion due to corruption, press reports said Thursday.

UEFA on Wednesday barred the Portuguese champions from competing in next season's Champions League after they were found guilty of match-fixing scandal.

The club was fined 150,000 euros, docked six points, the club's president Jorge Pinto da Costa was suspended for two years and Boavista were relegated to the second division for their part in match-fixing.

Along with being barred from the world's richest club competition, the sanctions are expected to cost FC Porto dear.

Portuguese financial daily Jornal de Negocios said the club's Champions League exclusion was a “disaster on the sports front but mostly in financial terms” that would likely see them post losses of “13 million euros” for the year ending 2008/2009.

The daily underlined that last year the club's participation in the Champions League had contributed 12.6 million euros to their coffers, amounting to 16 percent of their total revenue of 81.4 million.

FC Porto, who won the Champions League under former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in 2004 – the season to which the match-fixing charges relate – has lost 21 percent of its value in the Portuguese stock exchange since the start of 2008.

Sports daily A Bola predicted an even worse financial scenario for the Portuguese league giants.

“The collateral damage is incalculable, and the overall losses could run to 30 million euros,” it said.

The Jornal de Negocios added: “Without revenues from the Champions League the club is going to have to boost its finances by selling top players.”

Porto president da Costa said late Wednesday the club would not be selling several top players, but admitted they would be prepared to sell the highly-rated Quaresma for “40 million euros”.

Porto's recent demise meanwhile seems to have had one positive effect in Lisbon: the value of city rivals Benfica, who have consequently qualified for the preliminary third round of next year's Champions League, has risen six percent.

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