Sporting Lisbon: Players agree to play Portuguese Cup final after attack

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Image copyright Sporting Lisbon
Image caption Hundreds of fans gathered near Sporting's stadium on Tuesday night to show their support for the players

Sporting Lisbon's players have agreed to play in Sunday's Portuguese Cup final against Aves, despite being attacked at the club's training ground.

A group of 50 fans reportedly attacked players and staff on Tuesday.

Dutch forward Bas Dost suffered a head injury, but has signed a statement with the rest of the team agreeing to play.

The team said they "do not have the psychic and psychological conditions" to play, but will "honour their status as professionals".

They said they would play out of respect for Portugal, Aves and "all those who love and live football".

The statement was put out in conjunction with the Portuguese players' union Sindicato dos Jogadores.

The attack came after Sporting missed out on a Champions League place on the final day of the season.

Earlier in the day, the club had released another statement denying reports head coach Jorge Jesus had been suspended.

In April, president Bruno de Carvalho claimed to have suspended 19 first-team players after a Europa League defeat by Atletico Madrid, although he deleted the post on social media and most of the players featured in their next game.

Sporting have "vehemently condemned acts of vandalism and aggression to athletes", while the Portuguese League also condemned the attack.

Image caption The front pages of Portuguese newspapers on Wednesday

Analysis - '200m euros worth of players could leave'

Portuguese football journalist Jose Manuel Delgado speaking to BBC World Service

The player in the worst condition was Dost. He was hit on the head and had to have seven or eight stitches. Other players like Argentina international Marcos Acuna, and coach Jorge Jesus, were also hit by the hooligans. It was an unbelievable scene for 10 or 15 minutes, hell on the Sporting academy.

The players will play on Sunday. But they also said they would take all legal actions according to the situation. They can maybe break their contract with Sporting and leave immediately, without Sporting receiving anything - players worth 200m euros from several national teams.

Sporting is a prestigious club and they are in shock. Their president described the situation as "boring", today all the Portuguese press speak of that.

The president of Portugal said it is something shameful for the country and the image of the country.

Image copyright Sindicato dos Jogadores.
Image caption The signed statement from the Sporting Lisbon players