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Atletico board defiant despite ruling

Atletico Madrid’s board has said it will study another Spanish supreme court ruling saying its control of the club has been fraudulently achieved, while assuring fans that the "stability" provided by the current regime will continue.

Spain’s highest court ruled definitively on Tuesday that a 2003 share offering overseen by current club president Enrique Cerezo, current chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin and former president Jesus Gil y Gil should not have been allowed to take place, as the club was then the subject of a judicial intervention.

The court verdict said that Cerezo and the Gil family did not legally have the authority to push through the share offering which consolidated their control of the club at that time.

“The Supreme Court has resolved definitively the case regarding a share offering of Atletico Madrid [SAD], taken at the extraordinary general shareholders meeting on June 27, 2003,” the verdict says.

“…. In short, the court understood that a ‘fraud in law’ occurred in the entry made by Mr Cerezo Torres and Mr Gil y Gil in the club’s accounts, which formally allowed them to attend as board members and vote on the share offering. This was another element in the fraudulent scheme designed to avoid the demands made by the ‘Sports Law’.”

The ruling is a victory for fans groups including ‘Senales de Humo’ [which translates as 'smoke signals'], who for years have been fighting to win back control of their club. But it still remains to be seen whether the current Colchoneros directors can overcome this legal setback, as has happened previously.

Cerezo and Gil senior were found in 2004 to have unlawfully gained control of Atletico without investing any of their own money when it was converted from a members [socios] club into a public company [SAD] 12 years previously.

But because the legal process had moved so slowly that the statute of limitation had already passed, Cerezo and Gil’s son Miguel Angel have been able to just ignore that finding and remain in charge.

While a court may now have to decide who in reality owns a majority of Atletico’s shares, a swiftly released club statement said it accepted the most recent verdict and would call an AGM to decide what to do, while assuring fans that the current regime was going nowhere.

“Atletico de Madrid wishes to tell all its shareholders, season ticket holders and fans that, after his judicial decision, the institutional and social stability of that the club currently enjoys is guaranteed,” the statement said. “All the work done during recent years has contributed to the sporting successes achieved in recent seasons and the situation which the club today finds itself in.”

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