Real Madrid’s presidential election process challenged by fans’ group

An independent association of Spanish football fans have requested a court “suspend the electoral process” for the presidency of Real Madrid.

Madrid club president Florentino Perez will seek re-election for a sixth term in 2025, having most recently had his stay extended in an unopposed election in 2021.

Perez, 77, has been president of the Spanish giants for a total of 21 years over two spells, from 2000 until 2006 and then since 2009.

However, the Federacion de Accionistas y Socios del Futbol Espanol (FASFE) — an independent fan network formed by associations of supporters clubs across Spanish football — believes there are “serious irregularities” over Madrid’s electoral process.

FASFE allege, in a court action submitted to a judge this week, that Madrid’s current election rules allow the club to control which of the club’s 100,000 socios (members) are chosen to attend the assembly as voting ‘delegates’.

The legal complaint alleges that this contravenes the sports law which governs how ‘socio-owned’ clubs in Spain are run and asks for a suspension of a process to choose these delegates which begins this Sunday.

“In defense of the rights of our member who are socios of Real Madrid, given the serious irregularities presented by the elections called for by the delegate members of the club, we have requested to the judge for a precautionary measure to suspend the electoral process,” read a FASFE statement.

“We demand that these elections have all democratic guarantees and that all members, regardless of whether or not they support their club’s president, can present themselves and participate on equal terms in the electoral process.”

FASFE believe it is especially important that potential critical voices within Madrid’s socio base are allowed to be heard, as the club are planning changes to its statutes which could endanger its ‘fan-owned’ model in the future.

Perez said at last year’s assembly that he was planning a new financial structure for the club, which could allow for more outside investment, in order to compete with state-owned clubs. He maintained that this would not damage the socios’ ownership of their club.

Perez, a construction magnate and former local politician, has overseen changes to the club’s statutes over his tenure which tighten eligibility requirements over who can run for the club’s presidency.

This comes following a members vote in 2012, which limits the field of potential runners to those who have been a Madrid socio for at least 20 years and must have sufficient personal wealth to be able to obtain a bank guarantee worth at least 15 per cent of the club’s budget.

Perez has not had a direct challenger for the Madrid presidency in any of the most recent three elections in 2013, 2017 or 2021.

The Athletic have contacted Madrid for comment.

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