Leila Pereira, 'the Sun Queen' of Palmeiras

Leila Pereira, ‘the Sun Queen’ of Palmeiras

Dec 03, 2021 at 08:00


Aunt Leila ,. This is how players, journalists and torcedores affectionately call Leila Pereira, the new president of Palmeiras from next day 15. It is not the first in Brazilian soccer, since Patricia Amorim ruled Flamengo between 2009 and 2012, a stage in which he signed and started Ronaldinho Gaucho.

However, the case of the new Verdao leader is unique in the entire continent: she is the first ‘strong woman’ of a front-line club. The presidency is the last step to reach the status of ‘Queen Sun’ of Palmeiras. Through her husband’s business conglomerate that includes a low-income finance company and a university, It has invested more than 200 million euros since 2015, some of it in a lost fund.

His figure is capital to understand the resurrection of the traditional club of the Italian colony in Sao Paulo, which in recent years went from passing through Serie B to winning two Libertadores in a row (the last, last Saturday against Flamengo) twice the Brasileirao (2016 and 2018), two Brazilian Cups (2015 and 2020) and one Paulista Championship (2020).

Electing a president is a groundbreaking, transgressive exercise and oxygenates a recalcitrantly macho (and sometimes harsh) world such as that of professional soccer, and even more so in South America. Nevertheless, Leila Pereira does not come to blow up the structures because she embodies the values ​​of the ‘old politics’ in Brazilian clubs, starting with the role of patron.

He has helped buy unreachable soccer players for the club (among others, Lucas Barrios, Miguel Borja, Dudú & mldr;) in “an act of love & rdquor; because “there is no financial return & rdquor;. It has also lent money to the entity, something habitual that player representatives also do because the risk and compliance departments of the main banks in the country veto any line of credit to sports clubs and they are forced to seek financing at rates. much more expensive interest. Being a patron and making loans is an immediate model, unsustainable in the long term.


His old-fashioned profile also includes a dangerous collusion with organized crooked (ultras groups). His company financed the ‘Green Spot’ that participates in the Samba schools parade in Sao Paulo. It is money for a group with a history of clashes with crooked rivals, which in 2017 had one of its leaders shot to death in an ambush (there is talk of a reckoning).

“I admire them because they have a wonderful party at the stadium, because they are able to go thousands at four in the morning at the airport to receive the team … & rdquor;, is his simplistic view. Having the support of the ‘organized crooks’, who mount campaigns and physically pressure players and leaders, guarantees peace in the stands.

The concentration of power in Leila Pereira is unprecedented: president, main sponsor on the shirt, financier, patron … While the ball enters, no one will question anything, but there are already those who wonder if there will be incompatibilities when, for example, a better sponsorship proposal arrives that she pays for.

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