A PRESSURE group set up by disgruntled Valencia CF fans looks set to topple the current management and change the way the club is run for good.
Peter Lim’s presidency has been a major bone of contention among followers for a long time, not least because the president himself has inferred on several occasions that he views the team merely as a business interest and not as a sporting passion.
This prompted a number of angry fans to take the step from venting their frustration on social media to organising themselves into Libertad VCF, a protest organisation that has now just celebrated its first year of life.
In that time, Libertad VCF has jumped from the web to the street, and from there to the pages of international newspapers such as the Financial Times.
The group has steadily grown in notoriety and support, culminating in an historic demonstration through the city centre on May 8 demanding the resignation of Peter Lim and his board that gathered thousands of fans of all ages and backgrounds.
But it didn’t stop there, as the next move was to appeal to disaffected shareholders in order to obtain 5% of support, which would enable Libertad VCF to impugn the club’s accounts and make changes to the management structure.
In 12 months, the group has secured 570 paid-up members and the support of nearly 4,000 shareholders, who combined control 55,000 shares – one third of the number needed to reach the magic 5% figure.
Libertad VCF now has its own business structure with financial, legal and communication departments – all organised horizontally and largely anonymously.
Spokespeople for the platform insist that their greatest achievement has been to show fellow football fans, in Valencia and elsewhere, that a more democratic way to run professional clubs is possible, with ticket holders at the centre of the decision-making process.
They namedrop other similar initiatives that have proved vastly successful in Spanish football, such as Accionistas Unidos in Sevilla, who obtained 7% of shares and managed to avoid the sale of the Sanchez Pijuan stadium, among other victories.
The next date circled in red on Libertad VCF’s diary is next Monday (June 28), when a judge will hear their arguments to impugn the latest agreements taken by the board and decide whether or not to enforce any temporary measures such as blocking the application for credit approved in the last general meeting.
Valencia football club is currently going through a major sticky patch on every level – sporting and business-wise.
The never-ending saga of the half-built new Mestalla stadium, severe financial difficulties and what is perceived as an increasing ‘depersonalisation’ of the club on behalf of the current management have compounded the recent spate of bad results.
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