Billionaire Peter Lim's purchase of Valencia can boost youth development in Singapore
In June 2010, he pumped in $10 million to link up with the Singapore Olympic Foundation and offer scholarships to young sports talent in the country and give them the opportunity to achieve their goals.
He helped put together a deal for Singapore football vice-captain Hariss Harun to go to Portuguese top flight club Rio Ave last July, although the young midfielder turned it down in the end.
Today, Singapore billionaire Peter Lim is owner of top La Liga club Valencia.
Well known as a successful businessman, Lim has increasingly delved into sport in recent years.
Until yesterday, he was perhaps best known for a failed bid to buy Liverpool, one of the most storied football institutions in the world, in 2010.
He came close to acquiring the Reds, and while he was rejected by the English giants in the end, the headlines Lim made around the world gave notice he was a serious player.
I have no doubt it helped him in his quest to land Valencia.
Lim is definitely playing a part in boosting Singapore sport.
And already, Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin and general secretary Winston Lee must start formulating a plan and then try to strike a deal with him.
Football ownership is big business these days and Lim will use his considerable acumen and resources to restore financially strapped Valencia to their glory days and begin to reap the benefits after he does so.
To do that, he will wheel and deal to buy some of the world's best players.
When one is up against the might of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, that will be crucial.
Lim will also focus on grooming youth, because he will know in the long run Valencia will need a world-class development programme.
There is no Singapore footballer who has the ability to play for Valencia now, but the FAS should come up with a blueprint and convince Lim to allow the best youngsters here to train under the coaches at the Spanish club.
Based on his scholarship initiative with the Olympic Foundation, Lim believes in youth development and he will not baulk at a serious mission to boost local football.
Reputed to be a Manchester United fan, Lim can occasionally be spotted in the plush seats at Old Trafford, among the likes of the owners, the Glazers, and Bobby Charlton.
He is a personal friend of one of world football's leading agents, Jorge Mendes, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.
All three have visited Singapore, and Ronaldo, Mourinho as well as Luis Nani, were here to inspire youngsters and excite the fans through the Olympic Foundation.
Through Mendes, Lim was able to fly Diego Simeone and the Atletico Madrid side to Singapore for a friendly in May last year, while the Spanish league was still in season.
He tried his best to buy Liverpool, he recently flirted with another football institution, Italy's AC Milan, only to be warned off by owner Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of the country.
He has a formidable reputation in the business scene, and after his purchase of Valencia, Lim's clout in the football world has grown considerably.
While he has much to do to turn Valencia around, I am sure he will relish the challenge.
Lim will be excited as a whole new world has opened for him.
Singapore football should be excited at the possibilities after his successful bid.
I am very glad to have been selected the winning bidder after a rigorous selection process. Fans of Valencia FC can finally see an end to months of uncertainty.
Today's voting which overwhelmingly supported my bid demonstrates a firm commitment from the stakeholders of the process, namely Bankia, Valencia CF, Foundation of Valencia CF and Instituto Valenciano de Finanzas.
Under the process, the winner is the bidder with the best sporting, financial and social solutions.
I'm pleased that we have won on these three criteria and I'd like to thank the Board of Trustees, the Valencia fans and the city for their strong support over the past few months.
- Valencia's new owner, Peter Lim
Lim beats six other bids in vote
Singapore businessman Peter Lim has become the new majority owner of debt-ridden Valencia after buying 70.4 per cent of the shares owned by the club's foundation, the Spanish club said yesterday.
The Valencia foundation's patrons unanimously voted for Lim's proposal, made via his company Meriton Holdings, ahead of other offers from international groups pledging significant cash injections.
"Peter Lim has completed the takeover," a Valencia spokesman said.
The next task for the new owner will be to agree a deal with lender Bankia, who are owed 220 million euros ($376m) , the spokesman added. The club's total debt is around 360m euros.
Lim, who made a failed attempt to buy English Premier League side Liverpool in 2010, was the choice of club president Amadeo Salvo (right), who felt the offer was the best suited to turning around the club's fortunes.
The club's announcement came after a four-hour meeting at the Valencia Palace Hotel, and Valencia fans had gathered outside to await the outcome of the vote with banners and signs that read: "You can't sell this feeling".
Lim's offer beat the other six bids on the table. He has a fortune worth $2.4 billion, according to Forbes magazine, and is an avid football and sports fan.
Like many Spanish clubs, Valencia have struggled with high levels of debt and have been forced to sell their top players to stay afloat. They failed to qualify for next season's Champions League and were knocked out of the Europa League this month by eventual winners Sevilla in the semi-finals.
With one match left, a home game against Celta Vigo played this morning (Singapore time), Valencia are 10th in the 20-team La Liga.
All 22 representatives of the foundation voted in favour of Lim's proposal, which intends to clear the debts and invest heavily in the squad.
Marca.com said yesterday that with good connections already in the game - Lim is close to the renowned Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes - the Singaporean has already taken over the rights of a number of players such as Rodrigo and Andre Gomes, who could now be on their way to Valencia. There are also plans to sign a third Benfica player, Ezequiel Garay.
Lim has also promised that a new stadium will be finished by the club's centenary year in 2019.
Since winning La Liga twice in three seasons at the start of the last decade, as well as the Uefa Cup, times have been hard financially for Valencia.
The likes of David Villa, David Silva, Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata have all been sold and this season will be the first time in six campaigns they have finished outside of La Liga's top six. - Wire Services.
Top foreign- owned clubs
- MANCHESTER UNITED
Owner: Malcolm Glazer
Home ground and capacity: Old Trafford, 75,811
Worth: £1.852 billion ($3.898b)
Biggest player purchase: Juan Mata (£37.1m)
- MANCHESTER CITY
Owner: Sheikh Mansour
Home ground and capacity: Etihad Stadium, 48,000
Worth: £569 m ($1.197b)
Biggest player purchase: Sergio Aguero (£38m)
Owner: John W Henry
Home ground and capacity: Anfield, 45,522
Worth: £456m ($960m)
Biggest player purchase: Andy Carroll (£35m), now with West Ham
Owner: Roman Abramovich
Home ground and capacity: Stamford Bridge, 41,837
Worth: £572m ($1.024b)
Biggest player purchase: Fernando Torres (£50m)
- PARIS ST GERMAIN
Owner: Nasser Al-Khelaifi
Home ground and capacity: Parc des Princes, 48,527
Biggest player purchase: Edinson Cavani (£52.5m)
Owner: Dmitry Rybolovlev
Home ground and capacity: Stade de Louis II, 18,523
Worth: £190m ($400m)
Biggest player purchase: Radamel Falcao (£48.9m)
Owner: Peter Lim
Home ground and capacity: Mestalla, 55,000
Worth: £105m ($221m)
Biggest player purchase: Joaquin (£22m), now with Fiorentina