Monday, 14 April 2008

Exercise in translucency

Real Madrid's new-look website (welcome at last to the 21st century!), under the headline "Exercise in transparency", spells out in full the club's PR response to the allegations a couple of weeks ago about irregularities in the selection of socios compromisarios by Calderón and his associates. Thankfully, the president has chosen to avoid making public pronouncements on the matter and left the issue to the professionals. It's a wise move, given his past record. Curiously, the dry-as-a-bone communiqué has some tantalising references to a potential power struggle within the club.

The press release does not refer to the allegations as originally reported in José Antonio Abellán's El Tirachinas radio programme. Instead, it states that the presumed irregularities were brought to the attention of the board of directors by a number of Real Madrid socios. It then goes on to say that the electoral commission, which oversees all matters relating to elections at the club, has "dismissed the allegations in their totality" and has chosen to continue with the current process as any investigation "is outside their area of responsibility". This, it says is "unjustified, inexplicable and incoherent" and accuses the commission of acting "outside any legal rationale, as in previous occasions".

Consequently, the board has decided to suspend any current activities relating to the choice of socios compromisarios for the next AGM and proposed a change to the process. The changes are not detailed, but they are likely to include ensuring all applications and selections are witnessed by a notary.

The board also states its intention to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting "in the near future", ostensibly to discuss the above changes, as well as other proposed changes to the postal voting system, which were not approved at the last AGM. When Real Madrid were flying high in the league back in January, with a nine point lead over Barcelona they have only just regained, there was speculation of an EGM being called as soon as the championship was mathematically won, to announce a snap election which Calderón hoped to win and thus finally put paid to all the controversy which has dogged him since he became president.

What is difficult to discern, as little or nothing is in the public domain, is who runs the electoral commission, and, more importantly, how they are appointed. At the last election, one José Eulogio Aranguren, a 96 year-old who is also Real Madrid member number 2, was the president of the commission. One can but wonder whether the thinly veiled attack by the board is but a smokescreen to disguise their involvement in any shady activities. There is a long road ahead before anyone can claim "transparency" in anything related to Real Madrid.


Mr Robert Mugabe said...

I don't see what all the fuss is about. I suppose the next thing they will be saying is that it was wrong to stash postal votes in a cupboard.

Where, I ask you, are they supposed to be kept when all of the shoeboxes under the bed are full?


Gonzalo said...

You have been nominated for "comment of the week" - the winner gets to run the electoral commission