(Corrects Barbera’s title to mayor from regional president in para 10)
MADRID, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Valencia president Manuel Llorente sought to reassure fans of the cash-strapped La Liga club on Friday after problems emerged in the financing plan for the project to build a new stadium.
Valencia were forced to halt construction of the “Nueva Mestalla” in early 2008 but reached an agreement with Spanish lender Bankia late last year that appeared to put the project back on track.
“The latest events do not affect the foundations of this club,” Llorente, who declined to provide details about the financing operation, said at a news conference.
The club was “working with Bankia to seek solutions” and “the goal is still to restart and complete the new stadium”, he added.
Valencia are one of many Spanish clubs to have suffered severe financial difficulties in recent years as they try to remain competitive on the pitch while struggling to pay soaring wages and transfer fees.
The club racked up debts of more than 500 million euros ($647.60 million) before being bailed out by the regional government who agreed to guarantee a loan of 74 million in August 2009.
They have also had to transfer prize assets such as Spain quartet David Villa and Jordi Alba (both sold to Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City) and Juan Mata (Chelsea).
“It makes me green with envy seeing Silva at City, Jordi Alba at Barcelona, Mata at Chelsea but the reality was what is was,” Llorente said.
“It’s still going to be very hard for us to put this reality behind us and we’ll have to sell more players but luckily we’ll be able to do that thanks to the good work done by the technical secretary (in finding replacements),” he added.
Valencia mayor Rita Barbera told reporters on Friday that Bankia chief Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri had explained the club had not complied with some conditions in the financing agreement.
She said she was unaware of the exact problems with the agreement.
“What I do know is that it’s bad news and we’ll have to wait and see what decisions Valencia takes,” she added.
$1 = 0.7721 euros Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by Clare Fallon