Lucerne football club have appointed former Zurich coach Raimondo Ponte as their new general manager.This content was published on April 5, 2001 - 18:00
The side from central Switzerland are hoping that the former Swiss international can help them overcome their current difficulties both on and off the pitch. As well as fighting relegation from the country's top division, Lucerne are also facing a financial struggle.
The 46-year-old Ponte has been brought in to find a new replacement for current first team trainer, Andy Egli, whose contract runs out at the end of June. Ponte will also be looking for ways to make savings behind the scenes, where the club employs some 50 full time staff members.
Although Ponte's duties will only officially begin in July when his own contract with FC Zurich expires, he is being allowed to work in an advisory capacity for Lucerne with immediate effect.
There is likely to be plenty of speculation that Ponte himself will be named as Egli's successor. The Italian-born Swiss was previously in the general manager's seat at FC Zurich before taking on the role of trainer in 1995.
Ponte was replaced as coach by Gilbert Gress last season, following an embarrassing mistake ahead of an important relegation match. Ponte named one foreign player too many in his side, causing the football association to hand all three points to their rivals - a decision which saw FC Zurich dropping into the relegation playouts.
Lucerne will now be looking, with the help of Ponte, to follow FC Zurich's example in successfully avoiding the drop. The situation looks fairly healthy at the moment with Andy Egli's team leading the playout table, five points clear of the fall line.
swissinfo with agencies