Valencia have sacked president Anil Murthy over the controversy of leaked audios in which he discussed sensitive topics with local businessmen, which the club say has damaged their reputation.

Valencia-based sports newspaper Superdeporte published audio recordings earlier this month from a private dinner attended by Murthy in April.

Valencia initially accused the newspaper of running a “smear campaign” after it published audio of Murthy describing Liverpool and Newcastle as “st” cities while also threatening to “kill” the reputation of midfielder Carlos Soler if he left the club on a free transfer next season.

Soler, who is one of the club’s captains, is under contract until June 2023 but is yet to sign a contract extension.

Valencia said on Monday the content of the leaked recordings has negatively impacted the club’s relationship with their fans, adding that the opinions expressed in those extracts were not the views held by club but of Murthy.

“The board hold the view that a change in leadership is required, in order to regain the trust of the fans and the community,” the club said in a statement.

“Effective immediately, Anil Murthy will cease to be both President and an employee of Valencia CF.”

Valencia academy director Sean Bai has been appointed as interim CEO while the club looks for a replacement for Murthy, who had presided over the club since July 2017.

The club previously said Murthy and his family have received death threats since the audio recordings emerged.

Valencia fans staged a walkout of their final La Liga game of the season against Celta Vigo earlier this month to protest owner Peter Lim and Murthy’s running of the club, with only 5,000 supporters showing up at the stadium.

Lim acquired then debt-ridden Valencia in 2014 but has not been a popular figure, with the club having regularly been forced to offload star players to reduce the club’s large debts.

There have been calls for Lim to move aside and sell the club, but the businessman has said he has no intention of doing so.

“The board wishes to reiterate that Valencia CF is fully committed to achieving its long-term growth and success and completing the construction of the New Mestalla,” the club added. “We look forward to working together with fans, authorities and other stakeholders to achieve these goals.

Valencia finished ninth in LaLiga and finished runners-up in the Copa del Rey.

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