Spanish club Valencia removes president after leaked audio

MADRID (AP) — Spanish club Valencia removed president Anil Murthy from his post on Monday following the leak of private conversations that made the club’s leadership look bad.

The announcement came about two weeks after Murthy talked about players and the club’s economic situation and plans for the future. The daily Superdeporte published audio recorded from a private dinner attended by the president and some businessmen in April.

Among his comments, Murthy jokingly said he would kill player Carlos Soler if he leaves the club without a transfer. The club at the time said the audio was edited and taken out of context.

But on Monday Murthy left as an employee after the comments that “regrettably affected the club’s relationship with fans, government authorities and the community.”

“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,” the club said. “The board hold the view that a change in leadership is required, in order to regain the trust of the fans and the community and put Valencia CF in a position for success.”

Valencia fans have been fierce critics of Murthy and Singaporean owner Peter Lim, saying they treat the club only as a business.

In Valencia’s final game of the season this month, thousands of fans protested outside the Mestalla Stadium, waving “Lim Go Home” signs and shouting for the Singapore businessman to sell the club. It looked like there were more fans outside Mestalla than inside watching Valencia beat Celta Vigo 2-0 in the Spanish league, where it finished in ninth place.

Valencia said it appointed Sean Bai as acting director general. Bai has been with the club since 2018 and is currently the director of the team’s youth academy. Valencia said he will primarily oversee the team’s soccer operations.

Valencia said it will immediately begin searching for a new president. In the meantime, Khojama Kalimuddin, a non-executive board director, will stand in as president of the board of directors to oversee the administration of the club.

“The board would like to reiterate that Valencia CF are fully committed to achieving long-term growth and success, and to complete the construction of the new Mestalla Stadium,” the club said. “We look forward to working with fans, authorities and other relevant stakeholders to achieve these objectives.”

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