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    Women in Football: The story of Maite Ventura, LaLiga’s Managing Director for MENA

    Since 2017, Ventura has been working for LaLiga in the United Arab Emirates and has been a driving force behind the competition’s growth in the region.

    LaLiga’s Global Network is one of the league’s major success stories of the past few years, with 11 international offices having been set up and with delegates placed across the globe to work on promoting Spanish football in each territory. Maite Ventura has been a major driver of the Global Network programme’s success and is currently the Managing Director for MENA, working across the Middle East and North Africa.

    Ventura has been involved in the Global Network since the very beginning. The selection process began back in 2016, as almost 13,000 applications were submitted. One of them was from Ventura and her impressive background in marketing, communications and international business development saw her land the role as LaLiga’s delegate for the United Arab Emirates. 

    Following just over two years in that role, the Managing Director for MENA position became free when Fernando Sanz was promoted to another role in LaLiga and Ventura was selected to take over. Her work in the region was already starting to get noticed and her promotion in July of 2019 continued LaLiga’s trend of backing internal and female talent, with women making up approximately a third of the organisation’s employees.  

    “LaLiga is the most popular international competition in the region and we have a big opportunity to continue to strengthen our global presence as well as the engagement with our fans in the Middle East and North Africa,” Ventura said at the time. “I am very excited to be part of this team as I believe we have a very bright future ahead of us in this part of the world.”

    There really does seem to be a bright future in the region, where Ventura heads up a team in LaLiga’s Dubai office and works in collaboration with the country delegates based in Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, Iran and the UAE. This team-work has made possible to roll-out more than 100 activations in the region, where LaLiga followers in social media have reached the 16M and where the audience has been growing by double digit over the past years. That’s in addition to collaborating with federations and leagues across the region, to sealing commercial partnerships and to developing football projects. 

    The media work is also very important and it’s an industry that Ventura knows well since she studied journalism at the University of Navarre, in the region of Spain where she is from. While her career moved towards the business side of the football industry, Ventura still values the communication skills she learned during her studies and uses them daily. 

    “I feel very proud to belong to an institution such as LaLiga that promotes women´s talent in any part of the world”, said Ventura. In fact, there are 191 women working in LaLiga this 2020-21 season. A number 8 times higher than in the 2013-14 campaign, when Javier Tebas was appointed president of LaLiga, just seven years ago. Proof of the bet on women at all levels is that 33% of the Steering Committee is made up of women nowadays. 

    As Ventura says, one of LaLiga´s priorities is the empowerment of women using football as a tool to develop different roles of women not only in sport but in the whole society. In line with LaLiga´s commitment with women´s equality, Ventura has been involved in several initiatives in MENA related with women-focused football tournament in Kuwait and socio-educational projects in Jordan´s Zaatari Refugee Camp. 

    Of all the territories that make up the LaLiga Global Network, MENA is one of the largest and most diverse. Yet that’s a challenge that Ventura has enjoyed and it’s one that she’s thriving in, with LaLiga enjoying double digit growth in the region since she took over as Managing Director.

    There are many different cultures and many different languages in this region, but Ventura’s personality and passion for the beautiful game shines through in all of them. As she herself put it: “We’re lucky to work in football, as football is an international language and people understand each other well through football.” 

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