Football: Valencia say their proposed Sports Hub game in July will not take place

Spanish club Valencia will not be playing at the Sports Hub this year, the club said on March 16, 2016.
Spanish club Valencia will not be playing at the Sports Hub this year, the club said on March 16, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Spanish La Liga club Valencia will not be playing at the National Stadium this year, confirmed the club's commercial and marketing director Peter Draper.

Instead, a handful of players will arrive in Singapore for a promotional visit at the end of May, he said on Wednesday (March 16).

Originally, the club had planned to bring the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Paco Alcacer to play in the Republic as part of their pre-season preparations in July.

But the plan has been called off due to uncertainty about the availability of players, many of whom are expected to be called for national duties for the June 10-July 10 European Championships, June 3-26 Copa America and August's Olympic Games.

Another issue cited was the unavailability of the Sports Hub for their preferred dates in July.

"It's an unusual year and difficult, given the number of competitions. While we are still looking at our pre-season programme, we won't be coming to Singapore."

Valencia, which is owned by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim, will be looking at increasing its presence here in other ways for now.

Among plans in the pipeline are setting up a soccer academy here, as well as a coaches-exchange programme. They are also in discussions with the Football Association of Singapore about partnerships in areas such as coaching and soccer programmes.

"We support the sport on the variety of levels, from grassroots through to excellence. But they (FAS) are the ones who are in charge of the local system," said Draper.

Since setting up their first overseas office last July, the Englishman is pleased with how the club is slowly growing its presence here.

"All of that takes time to put into place. We're like a swan, looking like nothing's going on but there's a lot of paddling underneath," said the Englishman.