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Calderon quits as Real chief

RAMON Calderon resigned as Real Madrid president yesterday following a vote-rigging scandal.

Calderon told the club board he was stepping down and will officially announce his decision at a news conference layer yesterday. He is expected to call for fresh elections to choose a successor, a club official said.

Calderon's turbulent tenure came to an end after a Spanish newspaper reported that the 57-year-old lawyer had manipulated a general assembly vote -- effectively a vote of confidence -- in December.

Sports daily Marca reported on Tuesday that Calderon's budget was only passed because his directors admitted nonmembers into the assembly and denied entry to about 200 real ones.

Calderon won the tense assembly, where some of the 1,215 members called for his resignation, by 47 votes.

On Wednesday, Calderon insisted he knew nothing of the events and refused to resign, instead firing two close aides. A day later, Marca published photographs of Calderon and family members with several of the nonmembers that the newspaper had identified.

"I did what was ordered from above," said Mariano Rodriguez "Nanin," one of the fired aides.

Madrid vice president Vicente Boluda is expected to take over the president's duties until a successor is chosen at elections, which will be held at the end of the season.

Calderon has been dogged by scandal ever since he won the 2006 election by 200 votes over Juan Palacios, only because mailed-in ballots were not tallied.


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