Calderon leaves Real Madrid claiming “evil has triumphed”

January 17th, 2009 - 1:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Jan 17 (DPA) Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon 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. Vice President Vicente Boluda will take over as interim president until elections can be organised.

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 Dec 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.

Spanish daily Marca raised eyebrows by claiming that Calderon had sneaked unqualified delegates into the Dec 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.

Marca again alleged Wednesday 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 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 Thursday night and Friday morning.

Real have become an unstable, almost chaotic club in recent years, with four presidents having to quit under a cloud within 14 years.

Ramon Mendoza was forced to quit in 1995, Lorenzo Sanz in 2000, Florentino Perez in 2006 - and now Calderon.

Calderon’s reign has been short and stormy, even by Real Madrid’s recent standards.

He emerged triumphant in the elections of July 2006 by a narrow margin of 246 votes, after all of the postal votes were cancelled on the orders of a local judge.

Calderon’s victory was contested in the courts by several losing candidates.

He has been under constant fire by the media for failing to sign any big-name stars, in stark contrast to predecessor Florentino Perez, who will probably be a candidate in the upcoming elections.

Calderon promised to sign Kaka, Cesc Fabregas and Arjen Robben, but has only managed to bring in the latter.

He has also been criticised for his failure to sign FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, despite all his promises to do so.

On the positive side, he and sporting director Pedja Mijatovic have rejuvenated a squad which was ageing rapidly under Perez, moving on around 20 players and bringing in the same quantity, at great expense.

Calderon’s new-look team narrowly won La Liga in 2007 and comfortably repeated that triumph the following season.

Little has gone right this season, however, and Mijatovic replaced coach Bernd Schuster with Juande Ramos five weeks ago.

Ramos will now have to work against a background of uncertainty and confusion, as Boluda organises the elections.

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