Florentino Perez “won” his fifth consecutive term as Real Madrid president on Monday and, barring disaster, will continue in the role into 2025.
Real Madrid’s longtime figurehead confirmed his candidacy with the club’s election committee earlier this month and, despite hints from Vincente Boluda and Enrique Riquelme, no other candidates had registered by Monday’s deadline. It’s the third successive election that Perez has won unopposed, his last challenger coming in the shape of Lorenzo Sanz during the Galactico era.
It’s a poor reflection on the democratic process that is supposed to be one of the main perks of Real Madrid socio’s ownership model, especially after such a heated election process at Clasico rivals, Barcelona, this year.
Florentino Pérez will be elected unopposed as the only candidate for Real Madrid's presidency for the third successive election. It follows a club rule change - headed by Pérez - in 2012 to make a challenge almost impossible. Not exactly a beacon of democracy, is it. https://t.co/vEZ2awihbn— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) April 10, 2021
Rising expenses and strict sport laws introduced in 1990, have made the presidential role more exclusive with candidates required to bring a bank guarantee of 15% of the club’s expenses for the following year and assume 100% of the team’s losses (as the club earned more than that bank guarantee over Perez’s last term, he wasn’t required to make this pledge). Excluding the stadium renovations, 15% of Real Madrid’s expenses for last season amounts to 100 million euros.
In 2012, Real Madrid passed more restrictions on who could lead the club with candidates now required to be Spanish and to have been socios for 20 consecutive years (originally, it was 10 years). Unlike other socio run clubs (like Barcelona), Los Blancos are also one of the few clubs that require a bank guarantee before the election and you can have no third party help. Despite passing the general assembly, the changes are quite controversial and were even brought to court by a group of socios in 2017.
In truth, Perez’s monopoly is just scratching the surface of the administrative challenges Real have faced over the last three decades. His predecessors, Ramon Mendoza and Lorenzo Sanz, plunged the club into debt during the 1990s and hid it from the team’s account while Ramon Calderon’s election in 2006 remains shrouded in controversy.
In short, it seems assured that Perez will got out on his own terms at Real Madrid and, at 78, that day might not be too far away. Fortunately, his unchallenged rule has been a largely happy one so far.