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Real president resigns as club opt for elections

Written by: Staff
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MADRID, Apr 27 (Reuters) Fernando Martin resigned as Real Madrid president after failing to hold off calls for elections at a board meeting yesterday.

''The board have agreed unanimously to call for a presidential election. We think it is in the club's best interests,'' spokesman for the board Enrique Sanchez told a news conference.

''They have accepted Martin's resignation so that he can stand in those elections.

''We arrived at the decision after a lengthy debate although there was no formal vote.'' Director Luis Gomez-Montejano, at 83 the oldest member of the board, will take over as president until elections can be held at the end of the season. Media speculation suggested the date would be June 4.

Early into his presidency, Martin promised to appoint a new coach by the end of March and named a seven-man target list.

Although no announcement has been made, Spanish media have put AC Milan's Carlo Ancelotti at the top of that list, with England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson as a possible back-up option.

The club have also been linked with a number of high profile players.

''The directors of the club will continue working,'' Sanchez said. ''We are not going to enter into the debate over new signings other than to say we are working to make the club champions again next season.'' It was Martin's first full board meeting since succeeding Florentino Perez, who stepped down at the end of February.

He has faced mounting pressure to call a presidential election from inside and outside the club in recent weeks, though Martin had hoped to fend them off.

Club statutes gave him a mandate until 2008.

Real, third in the Primera Liga, will end the campaign without a trophy for the third successive season, their worst run in more than 50 years.

REUTERS DH KP1049

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