Football: Fans back Lim as Valencia go top

Football: Fans back Lim as Valencia go top
Valencia fans refer to Singapore billionaire Peter Lim as their club’s knight in shining armour.

Two hours before Valencia's La Liga match against Cordoba on Thursday, the home side's fans massed outside the Mestalla stadium to show their support for Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, who is keen to purchase the club.

Some 2,000 of them held banners denouncing Bankia, the Spanish bank which is the club's main creditor. The fans believe it is deliberately delaying the transfer of the club to Lim by imposing new conditions.

"They want Lim to get tired of the situation and drop his offer so they can sell the club to their friends," said Elisa, one of the fans at the demonstration.

Hector Gomez, a noted sports editor in the region, observed: "Valencia's supporters are excited about Lim's arrival. They are looking forward to his project and the opportunity to make Valencia succeed.

"However, key businessmen in the region, who used to control Valencia, consider Lim a threat as he could achieve in a few years what they were unable to do for decades.

"They are trying to pressure Bankia so it won't sign the agreement with him. But the supporters know exactly what they want.

"Their hope is to see Lim installed as soon as possible at the Mestalla".

Negotiations between Bankia and Lim's investment company Meriton have stalled over four key points: limits on future debt, repayment of Valencia's loan to Meriton, use of revenues if the Mestalla is sold and financial limits for new player acquisitions.

Amadeo Salvo, president of Valencia, is confident that a final agreement will be reached soon, although Lim is not willing to accept interference from Bankia if he takes over.

Oct 31 is the deadline for Bankia and Lim to sign the sale deed and if both parties do not settle their differences, Valencia's future will be uncertain.

The fans know that and are keen for Lim to take over.

On the football front, Valencia went top of La Liga on goal difference on Thursday following their 3-0 win over Cordoba.

After five matches, Valencia, whose players' average age is the lowest in the Spanish league, are leading on 13 points, the same as Barcelona, with Atletico Madrid two points adrift.

Carmen Calvo is Spanish newspaper ABC's correspondent in Singapore

This article was first published on Sept 27, 2014.
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