Lazio coach Roberto Mancini has welcomed the club’s settlement of back pay owed to their title-chasing players.

Stars such as Claudio Lopez, Jaap Stam, Diego Simeone and Co had not been paid since last summer because of the financial crisis which engulfed Lazio’s owner and now former president, Sergio Cragnotti. His Cirio foods conglomerate was the majority shareholder in the club which is being sold off to ease Cirio’s debts.

The emergency board, of which Mancini is a member, has obtained a loan from a banking consortium to pay the players and thus stave off the threat of the club’s only assets walking out.

Mancini said: “This was a most important issue to resolve because we had reached crisis point. The players have done wonders to concentrate on their football when so much has been going on. It had to be our priority to obtain the funds to pay them.”
By Keir Radnedge