Monday, 13 October 2008

Calderón faces calls for his resignation

In a week where the various international fixtures mean there is little in the way of Liga to talk about, the Madrid sports dailies try to entice punters to buy their wares with a tried-and-tested strategy: transfer talk. Never mind that it's only six weeks since the transfer window closed, As continue to carp on about Benzema and Marca have wheeled out Bernd Schuster to stoke the flames surrounding the future of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Obviously, if you're looking for news items unfavourable to Real Madrid, you need only to look at the Barcelona sports dailies ("Mourinho wants Pepe and Higuaín" - Mundo Deportivo, "Saviola to be asked to leave" - Sport). It is unusual, however, to have an interview with a pro-Real Madrid group in such a publication, except of course, when it's used to air grievances over Ramón Calderon's presidency of the club.

Plataforma Blanca, a group of several hundred Real Madrid socios (members) unhappy with the way the club is run, are headed by Eugenio Martínez, managing director of a PR firm. In the interview, Martínez claims he will demand Calderón's resignation at the next General Assembly:

Is reform necessary at the club?
Calderón's management team has shown that it does not have the ability to help Real Madrid evolve. We have to look to the future.

You see yourselves as an alternative at the helm?
We have the desire to be an alternative. Change is in the air.

Some say that Plataforma Blanca is just a front for Florentino [Pérez, former Real Madrid president].
There is nobody behind us. This initiative has come from young, professional, Real Madrid supporters looking to reform the club.

Calderón seems to go from conflict to conflict. Has his presidency really been so bad?
The club's image has been damaged by all those scandals and alleged irregularities. The climate right now is not favourable towards him, as he does no inspire confidence or credibility.

And the socios still don't have the accounts for the last financial year.
It's unbelievable that this late in the year we still have not seen the accounts or that a date has been set for the General Assembly.

Could debt once again threaten the club's survival?
I'm waiting to see the accounts, but by my reckoning, we could be three hundred million euros in debt. That leaves us with negative room to manoeuvre. The ability to generate revenue is smaller than expenditure, so the debt just keeps on growing.

How do you feel about those figures?
We are against approving the accounts. If that happens, it would be the first time in the club's history and the club would be effectively paralysed. A similar situation happened when Ramón Mendoza resigned as president [in 1995]. Ironically, it was Calderón who urged the socios to reject the budget, ending with Mendoza leaving and Lorenzo Sanz becoming president.

So Calderón could go from executioner to executed.
If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Is Calderón frightened of the socios?
It's understandable, given how they rejected his proposed reforms last May and asked for his resignation.

Will you ask for him to resign?
I will request it at the next Assembly, and if he does not, we'll have to consider a censure motion.

What is needed for a censure motion to succeed?
Half of the members present at the Assembly plus one. If Mr Calderón has any remaining self-respect, he should leave the club.

You have begun a civil suit alleging irregularities in the election of Socios compromisarios.
We are accusing Calderón and his friend Carrascosa of manipulating the database of socios in order to gain control over the Assembly. We do not intend to take the club to court, unlike Calderón himself did over the postal vote.


Is this just a few dissenting voices, or are Plataforma Blanca the tip of the iceberg? According to club rules, Calderón has until the end of December to convene a General Assembly and get the accounts approved, so we won't have long to wait.

4 comments:

Lee@GuillemBalague.com said...

Good stuff Gonzalo!
Can I ask, what's your personal view of Calderon? As a Madrid fan, does he not make you cringe? I have to be honest, I'm a Cule - as you know - so I find it very hard to be objective about the guy, but does he not make your toes curl?Our Joan is no saint and has let himself down on more occasions than I care to remember - but even he doesn't go as far as Calderon does in the foot in mouth stakes - or does he? Am I blinkered?

Gonzalo said...

Hi Lee, commiserations on being a culé ;)

I have written many times on this blog about my distaste of Calderón's populist style - I call him 'President Motormouth'. However, I think Real Madrid's problems are more endemic, as the whole debacle over the postal voting in the last presidential elections showed. The organisation needs to be run more transparently, more like a 'proper' public company. The fact that the members rejected the proposals last year to reform the voting model, mostly because they wanted to hand the president a defeat was very disappointing. I'm not sure that any of the alternatives to Calderón are any more palatable, which is depressing.

There are many things I dislike about Joan Laporta - mainly the whole politicisation of the club as some kind of flag bearer fo Catalonia (not that Real isn't guilty of similar sins with the whole Spain thing). He has let himself (and his trousers) down on many occasions. However, one area where Laporta is head and shoulders above all other Spanish club presidents is in the way he has dealt with the radical elements at the Nou Camp.

lee@guillembalague.com said...

Cheers for the reply Gonzalo! Must say that the lack of transparency at Madrid has echoes of FCB under Nunez - with the elefant blau and latter election of Laporta as being a response to that - so it all sounds painfully familiar.So, I guess you can look forward to having your very own trouser free dropping presi one day soon...

john said...

There's plaenty shadey and disreputable about Calderon. I hate his public oratory ejaculations, and his tendency to blather about and then burst potential transfers. However, there are a couple of things I like about the direction of the team under his charge. Higuain, Sneijder, Gago, Marcelo and Van der Vaart, to name a few. I'd much prefer these young talents to a bunch of all stars, and as they grow with the club they prove their merit, and could ultimately prove to be valueable, and saleable assets to the club, if not permanent fixtures.

Also, it's hard to argue with back to back titles.

Of course, I'd like to see the club clean up it's now (somewhat) tarnished reputation in Europe, and return to a more attractive style of play, but in the meantime, the club is hardly in a crisis.