Real Madrid's Florentino Perez calls presidential election

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Florentino Perez has called presidential elections at Real Madrid as he looks to extend his 12-year run in charge of the La Liga giants.

The construction magnate has been Madrid president since 2009. He previously held the position from 2000 until 2006 and was re-elected after running unopposed when his four-year terms expired in 2013 and 2017.

"The President, after the board meeting held today, and in accordance with article 38 section B of the bylaws of Real Madrid C.F., has asked the Electoral Board to initiate the procedure for calling elections," the club announced on Thursday in a brief statement.

Perez, 74, was first elected president in July 2000, presiding over the Galactico era that saw the club sign Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario and David Beckham in consecutive summers.

They won two league titles, as well as the Champions League in 2002, but subsequent unrest saw the club go three years without a trophy for the first time in half a century, causing Perez to resign in 2006.

He was succeeded by Ramon Calderon, whose often chaotic reign ended when he also resigned three years later, leading to Perez's return.

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Since then, the club have won La Liga three times -- including last season -- as well as four Champions Leagues, claiming three in a row from 2016 to 2018.

Madrid have faced a difficult financial environment since the coronavirus pandemic began, coinciding with ongoing work to redevelop the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

The requirements to run for Real Madrid president were tightened after a general assembly vote in 2012.

A candidate must have been a club member or socio for at least 20 years and must have sufficient personal wealth to be able to obtain a bank guarantee worth at least 15% of the club's budget.

It is not yet clear whether Perez will face opposition this time, although the Valencian businessman Vicente Boluda -- who was interim president of Real Madrid in 2009 -- has suggested he would consider a challenge.

"You always dream about being president of Real Madrid, but I haven't decided yet if I'll run," he told Radio Marca on Thursday.