January 17, 2009

Calderon Leaves Real Madrid

Ramon Calderon press conference before leaving Real Madrid Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon on Friday officially resigned over an affair involving unqualified delegates at the club's last board meeting.

Calderon made the announcement at a news conference at Real's Bernabeu stadium, confirming news reports from earlier in the day.

Vice-president Vicente Boluda will take over as interim president until elections can be organized.

Calderon was under massive pressure to quit when a news report earlier in the week said that he had sneaked unqualified delegates into the club's annual general assembly on December 7, in order to have his proposed budget and other measures passed.

At a tearful press conference, Calderon claimed that 'evil had triumphed.'

'I am not a coward,' he added, 'and I have nothing to hide...Neither directly or indirectly have I known about what happened in the club's last assembly.

Calderon then explained that he was handing over the presidency to close friend Boluda, who will prepare elections for May or June.

'I am leaving,' Calderon added, with tears in his eyes, 'with my hands clean and with my conscience clear, with less money and health that when I arrived, but with the pride of having served the most important club in the world.'

He finished by claiming that 'the success of those who have sought my destruction is also the triumph of injustice and evil. I have made mistakes, but not irregularities.'

Calderon's face revealed all the tension and anguish of what has been a traumatic week for him.

On Tuesday Marca raised eyebrows across Planet Football by claiming that Calderon had sneaked unqualified delegates into the December 7 assembly, in order not to be defeated by the increasingly vociferous opposition that has plagued him throughout his stormy two-and-a-half year reign.

According to Marca, Spain's best-selling paper, the unqualified delegates had not been club members long enough to be present at the assembly - or were not even Real members at all.

What made the scandal even more distasteful for Real fans was that, according to Marca, one of the 'infiltrados' was a paid-up member of local rivals Atletico Madrid.

Calderon immediately sacked the two employees he claimed were responsible for the scandal, whilst denying all knowledge of it himself.

On Wednesday Marca alleged that the two sacked employees were close friends of Calderon and were acting under orders from the orders from the president - allegations confirmed immediately be one of them.

Later on Wednesday Calderon claimed that it would be 'cowardly' to resign, and swore 'on my honour' to know nothing about the vote-rigging.

Spanish media reports claim that he was pushed towards quitting by his own board members, at stormy meetings on Thursday night and Friday morning.

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