Football: Valencia sack president Anil Murthy after audio leaks of remarks about owner Peter Lim, players

This comes after Anil Murthy (left) allegedly spoke disparagingly of the club's billionaire owner Peter Lim. PHOTO: ANIL MURTHY/TWITTER, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Former Singapore diplomat Anil Murthy has been sacked as president of Valencia, the La Liga side announced on Monday (May 30).

Murthy was axed following an audio clip published by Spanish newspaper Super Deporte of the Valencia boss speaking at a work dinner, where he allegedly spoke disparagingly of the club's billionaire owner Peter Lim and described Liverpool and Newcastle - home to two of the Premier League's clubs - as "s***" cities.

He had also threatened to "kill" Valencia's big-name players in the media if they forced an exit.

The 49-year-old had been president of Valencia since July 2017.

The club had initially released a statement earlier this month criticising the leaked audio clip, which was published by Super Deporte on May 16.

Murthy had also responded to the controversy on the same day, calling the leak a "campaign to smear Valencia CF".

He said then: "I am here to clarify things, because I have nothing to hide. We are in a surreal situation, at a time of the season in which we all have to focus on the final game against Celta Vigo.

"These things are undoubtedly related to the 'movement' organised to damage the club, damage the team and damage us all in the final game of the season on Saturday."

But in its latest statement on Monday, the club said the turn of events "have regrettably affected the club's relationship with fans, government authorities and the community".

It added: "The board would like to clarify that the content of the leaked conversations between Anil Murthy and various third parties are the personal views of Anil Murthy and not of Valencia CF.

"Valencia CF disassociates itself from his views."

In order to "regain the trust of fans and the community and put (the club) in a position of success", said the club, its board felt "a change in leadership is required" and therefore Murthy will cease to be an employee of the club "effective immediately".

"The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Sean Bai as acting director general on an interim basis," it said.

"Mr Bai has been with the club since 2018 and is currently the director of the (Valencia) academy. During this interim period, he will primarily oversee the football operations of Valencia CF and report to the board."

Valencia said it would immediately commence a search process to appoint a new president, until which Khojama Kalimuddin, a non-executive director, will stand in to oversee the administration of the club.

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The Los Che finished ninth in La Liga this season, failing to qualify for any European competition for a third straight season

Murthy's tenure was marred by discontent from supporters, with the Libertad VCF and Salvem Nostre Valencia CF (Save Our Valencia CF) groups arranging protests at the club's home ground at the Mestalla.

In mass e-mails and on social media, Valencia fans have also accused Lim and Murthy of "negligently managing the club", "deteriorating the value of the team" and "mistreating old legends and club workers".

Even players have criticised Murthy and the club, with ex-midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia in 2020 accusing Murthy of "destroying an ambitious project" as he sought a move to Atletico Madrid.

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