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Oct, 15, 2009

Llorente paints bleak picture of Valencia's finances

Valencia president Manuel Llorente has underlined the club's deep financial problems, explaining that they could easily have been demoted to the third tier of Spanish football this summer had the regional government not bailed them out to the tune of €74 million.

The club have been beset by financial problems for some time, facing a debt of more than €500 million which forced work on their new 70,000-capcity stadium to grind to a halt. Llorente insisted the club are not yet out of the woods and may still have to sell star players David Villa and David Silva.

Moving into the new ground, with the increased revenue streams associated with it, is central to Los Che's long-term future. But had it not been for the massive loan in August they would have been demoted from the Primera Division.

The Spanish club used the loan to release a capital increase to try and stabilise their finances.

Valencia told As that he expects a further loss of between €35 and €40 million this season - something which clearly cannot be sustained in the long term.

"Without the intervention of the regional government we would have defaulted on our payments or been relegated to the Segunda B (third tier)," Llorente said. "We need to start playing (in the new stadium) as soon as possible.

"It will have a capacity of 70,000, which will boost our income and free up the current stadium, making it easier to sell.

"It's nice and popular to say you won't sell (players) but there is a difficult road ahead. You can always sell star players and remain competitive."

Valencia missed out on a place in the Champions League this season, only qualifying for the Europa League, further denting their finances. Their financial woes also forced them to delay payments to players.

Llorente's strategy to turn the club's fortunes around involves encouraging fans to invest and he told As that Valencia was rich in assets, with two stadiums, two training facilities and a squad that was "the envy of the world".

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