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Portuguese court convicts 41 in Sporting Lisbon fan attack

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A Portuguese court on Thursday convicted 41 people of assault and threatening behavior after a large group of fans attacked Sporting Lisbon players and coaching staff in a locker room two years ago.

The court sentenced nine men to five-year prison terms and handed 29 others suspended sentences of up to four years and 10 months. Three others were fined. The incident occurred after a string of poor results infuriated fans.

The group ran into Sporting Lisbon’s training ground, their faces covered, and forced their way into the locker room where they punched, slapped and kicked senior players in what the court said was a premeditated attack.

Former club president Bruno de Carvalho, who was in charge at the time, was cleared of having helped mastermind the confrontation. The incident shocked public opinion and drew harsh criticism from national and international soccer bodies.

Sporting Lisbon said in a statement after the verdict that “this episode has left an indelible mark on Sporting and its fans, bringing very malign consequences for everyone involved and shocking the world.”

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