Football: Valencia to receive S$160 million injection from Peter Lim's Meriton Holdings

Mr Peter Lim, a Singaporean billionaire, has flexed his financial muscle for his football club Valencia.
Mr Peter Lim, a Singaporean billionaire, has flexed his financial muscle for his football club Valencia.PHOTO: SINGAPORE OLYMPIC FOUNDATION- PETER LIM SCHOLARSHIP

SINGAPORE - Peter Lim has flexed his financial muscle to prove that he is serious in making his club Valencia a force in Spanish and European football with a massive cash injection.

The billionaire's private investment company Meriton Holdings will pump €100 million (S$160 million) into the Spanish football club owned by the Singaporean.

This was announced on Wednesday evening at the Mestalla Stadium by Chan Lay Hoon, Valencia's chairman of the board of directors and executive president.

Chan said: "Peter Lim and Meriton are fully committed to Valencia Football Club. 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.

"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, to protect our assets and to build a brighter future for the club."

Chan added that Meriton had also extended an €80 million loan facility to the club and Valencia's equity will be boosted from €50 million to €150 million after this injection of funds.

Lim paid €420 million (S$605 million) to rescue the debt-ridden side last October. Under his ownership, Valencia finished fourth in La Liga last season and returned to the elite Champions League after its last appearance in 2013.

The 52-year-old trusted financial adviser of Lim's also addressed the allegations of mismanagement made by Valencia's former vice-president Miguel Zorio last week.

Zorio claimed that Lim had signed players from associate, super agent Jorge Mendes, for inflated fees. He also voiced that he wants the billionaire out of the club.

His allegations prompted Valencia and Lim to explore legal action.

"Absolutely not," Chan intoned, when asked about the claim on Mendes' influence on the club.

"Jorge Mendes is only a friend. At the moment, decisions are discussed by myself, the coach (Nuno Espirito Santo) and Peter himself. We are working as a team and I want to state quite clearly that we take decisions ourselves. We may have friends who are agents but we make the decisions ourselves.

"When we buy a player, it's because of his quality and his good potential and not because of anything else."

And Chan has scathing words on Zorio, who during his tenure from 2008-2009, players went unpaid and the club went into bankruptcy.

She said: "I don't know this person but I've 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 but that was after he made allegations that are very damaging. That shows you how responsible this person is."

meng@sph.com.sg