Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Calderón in new vote-fixing allegations

Ramón Calderón must have spluttered over his morning café solo as he read the allegations in Marca regarding his "theft" of the club's AGM last month.

The paper claims that Calderón "infiltrated" significant numbers of people into the Assembly meeting who had no right to vote to ensure that last year's accounts and next year's budget were approved. The motions were passed (the accounts fairly narrowly, with 55% of the vote) thus ensuring the president's continuity at the helm.

This turns up the heat on Calderón by yet another notch. Marca is by far the most mainstream and, in principle, friendly publication to Real Madrid, and for them to put this on their front page is basically a declaration of war on the president.

In response, the club's director responsible for the membership, Luis Bárcena, made a brief statement to the press:

Before I begin, I wish to make it clear that both the President and his Board of Directors delegated the organisation of the Assembly in this general directorship, so any responsibility regarding the outcome of the Assembly is solely mine.

The first thing I'd like to say is that my first decision was to control access to the Assembly by making Members present their ID cards at the entrance of IFEMA's Palacio de Congresos. I did this in order to add transparency to the Assembly. It was an historic decision, given that nothing of the sort had ever been done.

The second and final thing I'd like to say is in regard to those people who supposedly infiltrated themselves in the Assembly with the purpose of destabilising it. We have decided to investigate on the matter and we have asked the Club's Commission for Social Discipline to confirm these facts and, in the case of finding any Club Members implicated, to immediately expel them from the Club.

Given Real Madrid's archaic voting system at AGM's, all the votes were counted by shows of hands, rather than by using ballot boxes. This means that anyone who was already in the room could vote and there is no paper trail of who cast which votes. There were calls during the assembly to change the system, but the petition was denied.

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