Football: 'It's the fault of Covid-19' - Valencia president Anil Murty blames the pandemic for zero signings

Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno controls the ball during a Spanish league football match on Feb 8, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

VALENCIA (Reuters) - Valencia did not sign any players in the transfer window due to a €100 million (S$159.8 million) fall in revenue as a result of the coronavirus, club president Anil Murthy has said, adding that spending beyond their means would have been irresponsible.

Valencia's supporters and former players have rounded on the Liga club's hierarchy after they failed to bring in any new signings before the window shut on Monday, despite letting eight key squad members leave in the close season.

"We began this season with a very difficult challenge, almost impossible," Singaporean Murthy told the Valencia website on Tuesday (Oct 6).

"We had to adapt from having €200 million in revenue to €100 million, and we had two clear objectives, to reduce the cost of the squad to solve the problem of the missing €100 million and strengthen the team at the same time.

"In the end, we couldn't reduce the cost of the squad enough and without achieving that first objective, it was impossible to increase the cost of our squad."

Like every major sporting competition, La Liga faced huge disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pausing for three months mid-season before completing the final rounds of fixtures without fans which hit income from ticket sales and merchandise.

Valencia, who reached the Champions League last 16 but finished ninth in La Liga last season, have taken seven points from their first five games of the new campaign to sit eighth.

Coach Javi Gracia had recently spoken out about the club's lack of activity in the transfer market and according to widespread reports in the Spanish media, he is considering resigning due to the club's failure to bolster the squad.

"I understand the frustration of the fans and the coach, we all wanted the same thing, to strengthen the team and raise its level, but we weren't able to do that," added Murthy.

"We are in a situation which is not going to be over by the end of this season, but that I think will last up to three seasons, and the solution is not to hide from this problem, but confront it with confidence, with a clear idea and knowing exactly how we need to act to keep competing.

"We have to be responsible in the face of this situation because that's what this club deserves."

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