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Victoria Pavón, the woman who brought enthusiasm to CD Leganés

The president of the Leganés team has been working tirelessly for 13 years with one goal in mind: to make her neighbours proud of the football club in their town. Now she is looking for a way to get her "Lega" back into LaLiga Santander after two seasons in LaLiga SmartBank.

Victoria Pavón and her husband, Felipe Moreno, took control of CD Leganés at the end of 2008, when the club was in the quicksand of non-professional football (Primera División RFEF). "There were no sponsors, there was almost no advertising... Every year we had to increase our capital in order to save each season, it was like a bottomless pit," recalls the woman who, a few years later, would see her team join the Spanish football elite.

With Pavón at the helm, the new board of directors compensated for the lack of resources with their ingenuity and determination: "We reduced expenses as much as possible and the family collaborated to make sure everything went well. We did everything selflessly to help the club. Most of those who helped in those uncertain beginnings have grown up with the club and are still part of the Leganés project today.

Victoria believes that if there was a magic formula for taking a team to the top, it would lose its appeal, as "everyone would use it". But Pavón had an ace up her sleeve: "Surrounding herself with a very committed team, with a lot of ambition and a lot of desire", which helped the team overcome the double crisis it was facing: the economic crisis and the illusion one.

By 2008, the club, which had already spent 11 years in the silver division, had barely 1,000 members. "We did everything we could to attract supporters: we offered two for one - each member could bring a companion - we celebrated Children's Day, Women's Day, Older People's Day... And on that day they were allowed into the stadium for free. The players also collaborated and we even went with them to do activities with the kids and sign autographs in the city centre," he recalls with a mixture of nostalgia and pride.

"The year we were promoted to LaLiga SmartBank was magical"

Victoria Pavón, president of CD Leganés

So, thanks to everyone's efforts and the renewed support of the Pepinera's fans, CD Leganés managed not only to emerge from the abyss of the mud but also to make history. "The year we were promoted to LaLiga SmartBank was magical," admits Pavón. It was the culmination of the family's commitment to bringing the club closer to the fans. The promotion coincided with the approval of Royal Decree 15/2015, which establishes a new distribution of profits derived from audiovisual rights, an income that gave CD Leganés the support it needed to get one last push.

A world of women and men.

Victoria Pavón is the first woman in the 81-year history of the Blue and Whites to assume the presidency of the Madrid club. A lifelong resident of Leganés, she admits that her love of football was passed on to her by her sons, who ended up passing on their passion for the sport and for CD Leganés. This, along with her tireless entrepreneurial spirit, led the Leganés native, who has a degree in sports management, to take on the challenge of leading the management of her city's team.

The truth is that Pavón had never dreamed of holding such a position, perhaps because at the time it was unthinkable that a woman could do so. Fortunately, things have changed in recent years. "We have come a long way, the situation of women today is nothing like it was 13 years ago," says the President. The first symptom of this paradigm shift is the place she herself occupies in the collective imagination. At the time, most of the interviews she had "were repetitive" and focused on her status as a woman and what she was doing in what was considered "a man's world", as she explains. Today, however, her position has been normalised and women are increasingly present in all areas of football.

A good example of this can be found in the dressing room of CD Leganés itself: Jara Cuenca, a first team player and now also the club's director of women's football. "Until 2017 we didn't have a women's team and now we already have five," boasts the president, "and we would have more if we had more pitches available."

Women like Pavón, Cuenca and Amaia Gorostiza, president of SD Eibar, are the mirror in which all those young girls who dream of reaching managerial positions in the world of professional football look at themselves today. "Today, girls live it with as much passion, if not more, than boys. We see it every day, there are more and more players, fans, coaches... They are being introduced into all areas of the club and they will surely be the next sports directors, coaches and, why not, presidents too", she concludes.

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