Lim pumps another $160m into Valencia

PHOTO: Reuters

In a bid to get Valencia challenging for both Spanish Primera Liga and European Champions League honours, Peter Lim has opened his vault and pumped €100 million (S$160 million) into the coffers of the football club that he owns.

The cash injection, to be made via the Singaporean billionaire's private investment company Meriton Holdings, was announced on Wednesday evening at the Mestalla Stadium by Chan Lay Hoon, chairman of the club's board of directors and executive president.

"This equity contribution is the best way to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the club as we continue to build the club every day," she said.

Lim paid €420 million to buy the club last October. Meriton has also extended an €80 million loan to the club whose equity will be boosted from €50 million to €150 million after this injection of funds.

"The strengthening of the club's financial health will allow us to continue to invest in our first team and academy to compete at the highest level of European competitions, strengthen our balance sheet, protect our assets and build a brighter future for the club," Chan added.

Dressed in a white shirt with black trimmings - Valencia's home colours - the 52-year-old acknowledged that results on the pitch have not been ideal this season.

While Nuno Espirito Santo's men have picked up two consecutive 1-0 wins - over Granada in La Liga and Lyon in the Champions League - this week, a slow start to the campaign saw a section of the home support jeer the Portuguese tactician. The team won just two of their opening six league games.

But Chan, who praised the fans for being "so passionate" and having "class", appealed for patience.

She said: "In recent games, the team were not in the best form. There was whistling and criticism.

"We know we have to work very hard to win our fans back.

"It's not a nice experience to have fans chanting at the coach.

"I would like to remind our fans this is the same coach who brought us to the Champions League."

Valencia finished fourth in La Liga last term to qualify for the elite club competition which they last competed in in 2013.

"He is a young coach, he is quite intense and is very serious in his work," said Chan.

Last Friday, former Valencia vice-president Miguel Zorio lodged a legal complaint alleging that Lim is mismanaging the club by buying a number of players at inflated prices from his associate, agent Jorge Mendes. That led Lim and Valencia to consider taking legal action against Zorio.

Chan also rubbished the claim about Mendes wielding an inordinate amount of influence at the club, saying: "Absolutely not. "Jorge Mendes is only a friend.

"At the moment, decisions are discussed by myself, the coach (Santo) and Peter. We may have friends who are agents but we make the decisions ourselves.

"I don't know this person (Zorio) but I have heard a lot of stories about this person.

"He has never approached me for any clarification.

"It was only this morning that he sent a letter to the club (thanking Lim for clarifying the matter) but that was after he made allegations that are very damaging.

"That shows you how responsible this person is."

This article was first published on October 2, 2015.
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