Football: Peter Lim's purchase of Valencia can boost youth development here

Football: Peter Lim's purchase of Valencia can boost youth development here

In June 2010, he pumped in $10 million to link up with the Singapore Olympic Foundation and offer scholarships to young sports talent in the country and give them the opportunity to achieve their goals.

He helped put together a deal for Singapore football vice-captain Hariss Harun to go to Portuguese top flight club Rio Ave last July, although the young midfielder turned it down in the end.

Today, Singapore billionaire Peter Lim is owner of top La Liga club Valencia.

Well known as a successful businessman, Lim has increasingly delved into sport in recent years.

Until yesterday, he was perhaps best known for a failed bid to buy Liverpool, one of the most storied football institutions in the world, in 2010.

He came close to acquiring the Reds, and while he was rejected by the English giants in the end, the headlines Lim made around the world gave notice he was a serious player.

I have no doubt it helped him in his quest to land Valencia.

Lim is definitely playing a part in boosting Singapore sport.

And already, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin and general secretary Winston Lee must start formulating a plan and then try to strike a deal with him.

Football ownership is big business these days and Lim will use his considerable acumen and resources to restore financially strapped Valencia to their glory days and begin to reap the benefits after he does so.

To do that, he will wheel and deal to buy some of the world's best players.

When one is up against the might of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, that will be crucial.

Lim will also focus on grooming youth, because he will know in the long run Valencia will need a world-class development programme.

There is no Singapore footballer who has the ability to play for Valencia now, but the FAS should come up with a blueprint and convince Lim to allow the best youngsters here to train under the coaches at the Spanish club.

STAUNCH SUPPORTER

Based on his scholarship initiative with the Olympic Foundation, Lim believes in youth development and he will not baulk at a serious mission to boost local football.

Reputed to be a Manchester United fan, Lim can occasionally be spotted in the plush seats at Old Trafford, among the likes of the owners, the Glazers, and Bobby Charlton.

He is a personal friend of one of world football's leading agents, Jorge Mendes, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.

All three have visited Singapore, and Ronaldo, Mourinho as well as Luis Nani, were here to inspire youngsters and excite the fans through the Olympic Foundation.

Through Mendes, Lim was able to fly Diego Simeone and the Atletico Madrid side to Singapore for a friendly in May last year, while the Spanish league was still in season.

He tried his best to buy Liverpool, he recently flirted with another football institution, Italy's AC Milan, only to be warned off by owner Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of the country.

He has a formidable reputation in the business scene, and after his purchase of Valencia, Lim's clout in the football world has grown considerably.

While he has much to do to turn Valencia around, I am sure he will relish the challenge.

Lim will be excited as a whole new world has opened for him.

Singapore football should be excited at the possibilities after his successful bid.

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