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Virginia Martínez (Madrid, 1988) barely sleeps five hours a day, but these weeks she is still busier than usual. To her work as a lawyer and as leader of the opposition in the Aranda City Council, she now has to add all the logistics of the Cup match against Cádiz. "People stop me on the street to tell me that family members are going to come to cross the bridge and to ask me if there are any tickets left," he said, in a telephone conversation with EL MUNDO, about Thursday's tie.
Lay Hoon Chan, at Valencia, Sophia Yang, at Granada and Marián Mouriño, at Celta, are the only three female presidents in First Division clubs. Have any of these cases inspired you? La Arandina is a modest club that is becoming more professional around the first team, but in practice we are a group of people who collaborate in any area. As president, I dedicate myself to representative work and a lot of management work, so I always base my work on the day-to-day. As for what you're asking me, I haven't had a specific reference, but I've dedicated myself to working and moving the club forward. We arrived in August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic and since then we have focused on a sincere work of daily work, although also having a medium and long-term project. You are a well-known Real Madrid fan. Do you think Spanish football is ready for a woman to be president of the white club? Right now, Florentino Perez is the president Madrid needs, but why not? If a person is prepared in terms of management and in terms of everything that it means to preside over a club of this magnitude, of course they could be, regardless of their gender. I think people are sexist in all areas of their lives. Football is not a macho sport, but the one that attracts the most fans. So within all those people, just for the sake of statistics, there are sure to be male chauvinists. What did Luis Rubiales' kiss think of Jenni Hermoso? I would call it ill-advised. As president, your first term is to maintain the institutionality that the position implies, in this case that of the national team in a World Cup. At a time like this, don't get carried away by emotions. Have you understood the demands of the Spanish internationals? You always have to bet on equality, but of course, equality has to be both in the good and in what remains to be achieved. Women's football is something that, of course, must be promoted by the administration and by the federative institutions. I believe that we are on the right track in terms of the support and professionalisation that is required. It's only been seven months since he ran in the municipal elections in Aranda. How did your political vocation come about? I have always been attracted to politics, because of the role it plays within society. Only if you take the step and get involved can you do something for others. The People's Party offered me this opportunity and I feel very proud, because at the municipal level I can see the concerns of citizens up close and do things for them. Although I have to tell you that I also like high politics.
I'm very proud of my work at City Hall, but I also like high politics
Who are your role models in the political sphere? In the PP we have great figures. Now, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, as leader of the party, is a reference for all militants. And then, our regional presidents, such as Alfonso Fernández Mañueco and, of course, Isabel Díaz Ayuso or Juanma Moreno. In Burgos we have a PP with a lot of experience and a lot of empathy with whom we collaborate, as Borja Suárez, the provincial president, demonstrates. Nor do I want to forget Raquel González, who was mayor of Aranda for 12 years and who is now a senator in Madrid, from where she does a magnificent job for our province. We live in a climate of extreme polarization, with too much noise at all levels. In a city of 33,000 inhabitants, where most people know each other on the street, have you suffered any episodes as a result of tension? In Aranda, football has been completely excluded from any political issue. When our members and season ticket holders go to the Juan Carlos Higuero Stadium to enjoy the matches, they do so only looking at what is happening on the pitch. On April 26, two former Arandina soccer players convicted of sexual assault were imprisoned. Has the club contacted them? It's a settled issue for the club from the moment those players stopped belonging to their discipline, so there has been no link with them. I think that at the time we were harmed by being associated with that case, because in any company there can be someone who jumps a traffic light or commits a crime. That does not mean that this case should be associated with the name of a non-profit club like ours. We believe that it was not fair, but well, we also understand the relevance and repercussion of acts that were of considerable gravity and that were finally condemned by the Supreme Court. In 2019, one of the convicts said in an interview with EL MUNDO that they had been simple "scapegoats." Was there any interest in this case serving as a lesson? It is a question that should only be assessed judicially. I don't know the substance of the matter to express myself one way or the other. I can't give an answer because it's been an issue outside the club.
Virginia Martínez, at the Juan Carlos Higuero Stadium.PAULINO ORIBE
A month ago, the Arandina players gave up playing the first minute of their Copa del Rey match in protest at non-payments. How do you plan to solve this problem? The most substantial portion of our revenue comes from grants. We are lucky that the City Council helps us, but the federal subsidies never arrive in bulk, since each one has a procedure. And that has created liquidity problems for us. It's not a question of the money not coming or that we've committed ourselves beyond our means, but of timing. We understand the financial needs of our players, just like those of any other worker. And of course we support any action to assert your rights. In this case, however, this is a temporary problem. There is a part of the fans, linked to some directors who left the Arandina, who consider that their partner, Paco Galán, is the one who really calls the shots at the club. Right now, a group of about 30 people work at Arandina. Every Monday we meet at eight o'clock in the evening, for two or even three hours, in which we talk and discuss the situation of the club. Paco has been the spokesperson and has done a very complicated job, which I think should be recognized, for the sacrifice he has been able to entail. Of the three activities you combine, which one satisfies you the most? Each one has its moments, but in the end what keeps you going is watching the kids play the games. After these seven months I am very satisfied with what is happening in the City Council, because the issues of the party interest me a lot. It's the day-to-day that makes me happy. And, above all, to share it with the people who, as I said at the beginning, help me coordinate everything. The collaborators and comrades, within my profession, of the Popular Party and Arandina, who for me are essential pillars. What does a day in the life of Virginia Martinez look like? I usually wake up around six in the morning. First thing in the morning is when I have the most capacity to work and when I make the most use of my time. In the firm I dedicate myself to my specific work as a lawyer, while alternating the issues of administration and management of the club, the paperwork of important issues, such as subsidies or some contracts. That work, let's say, in the office, I carry out according to my schedule throughout the day. I'm still in the afternoon and evening, so I must admit that I don't get much rest.
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