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Inter slam 'unacceptable' Sporting statement over Joao Mario transfer to Benfica

19:30 BST 13/07/2021
Joao Mario Portugal
The Lisbon club claims that the Nerazzurri improperly dodged a hefty transfer clause in the original deal that took the player to Milan

Inter have categorically dismissed claims from Sporting CP that they acted in an improper manner by terminating Joao Mario's contract, as the Portuguese side prepare legal action over his move to rivals Benfica. 

Sporting contend that the player was released in order to circumvent a hefty transfer clause that would have come into effect had Inter sold him to Benfica. 

But the Nerazzurri, who signed Mario in 2016 from Sporting, countered with a strongly worded statement in which they assured that the accusations were "unacceptable". 

What was said? 

"FC Internazionale Milano is aware of the statement released to the media by Sporting Clube de Portugal," Inter signalled in a statement released on the club's official website on Tuesday.

"The comments are unacceptable, extremely serious and – most importantly – without basis in truth.

"The club will protect its image and reputation in the relevant forums."

What are Sporting's allegations? 

The Lisbon club believe that in releasing Joao Mario just before he signed with their arch-rivals Benfica, Inter have deliberately avoided the triggering of a clause which would impose a financial penalty on the club should they sell him to a different Portuguese team. 

Sporting also claim they attempted to sign the Portugal midfielder themselves but were rebuffed by the reigning Serie A champions.

“Inter refused our proposal, they rescinded the contract with Joao Mario in order to get him to sign for Benfica,” the statement maintained.

“It is our belief that this workaround was used to avoid a clause signed in 2016. We will defend the interests of the club and sue for damages caused by the violation of these agreements.

“In 2016, Inter and Joao Mario accepted the clause to pay an extra €30 million in case of sale to another Portuguese club.”

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