No disruption after departures, says Valencia chairwoman

SINGAPORE - Valencia's Singaporean chairwoman said it was business as usual at the La Liga club despite the surprise departure of executive president Amadeo Salvo and two senior executives this week.

Salvo, who oversaw the sale of the club to Singapore billionaire Peter Lim last year, cited family illness upon standing down on Wednesday, although Spanish media claimed a difference of opinion between the two men was to blame.

Chairwoman Chan Lay Hoon, a long term associate of Lim, said talk of full blown rows were wide of the mark and that Salvo, general sporting manager Francisco Rufete, technical secretary Fabian Ayala and five of their staff were not forced out. "There are different views on sporting matters," she told Singapore newspaper Today on Friday. "This is very common in every football club and this cannot be the reason to drive people away. There is no disagreement with Peter as reported by the media. "The technical team joined Valencia because of Amadeo and, therefore, they have also reached an agreement with the club to leave together with Amadeo when he left for personal reasons." The surprise departures come after a bright first season under Lim's ownership of the once financially stricken side.

The Singaporean, a supporter of English side Manchester United, appointed former Portuguese goalkeeper Nuno as head coach and the six-times champions ended the campaign in fourth and qualified for the lucrative Champions League. "Two years ago, the club were definitely worse off than now," Salvo said in a departing statement on Wednesday. "Now, Valencia are in good hands and the club has a great future ahead with Lay Hoon and Peter Lim. I ask the fans to continue to always support the team." Chan said she would take over Salvo's position and thanked her predecessor for his service.

She asked for fans of the club, who announced the appointment of former Manchester United fullback Phil Neville as part of the coaching staff this week, for patience. "I may have a different management style but it will be based on transparency, sincerity and the best interests of the club," she said. "I hope that, over time, I will gain the fans' trust and support. We should not forget that we had a great season just more than a month ago. I call upon all our fans to be united and strong, and to face the new challenges together."

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