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Lugano build up points, but also debts

FC Lugano, riding high on points at the top of Switzerland's football league, still have plenty to worry about. The club has a SFr9 million debt.

According to reports in Switzerland's German and Italian language press, SFr3 million of the debt was built up over the course of the 1999/2000 season, with the rest accumulating since the start of the current season.

Lugano's investors are demanding SFr3.5 million of their money back, and the side looks set to have to sell players to balance the books.

Club boss, Helios Jermini, is expected to attend a crisis meeting on Monday. The team's fans are already calling for his scalp.

On Wednesday the justice authorities in canton Ticino decided to suspend an investigation into alleged money laundering at Lugano.

Speculation that all was not as it should be in the club's finances began after the Italian financier, Pietro Belardelli, became the principal shareholder last season, injecting almost SFr2 million in exchange for 74 per cent of the shares.

Belardelli resigned from the Lugano board in July, and made a bid to invest at FC Aarau. Aarau ended discussions with him in August.

Ticino prosecutor Emanuele Staufer said that the case was being suspended due to lack of evidence, but that it would not be formally closed.

swissinfo with agencies

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