SAO PAULO - The new president of Brazilian club Palmeiras appealed to fans to stop sending money to her personal bank account on Thursday, a day after the details were revealed at her inauguration ceremony.
Leila Pereira, who was last month elected Palmeiras’ first female president, was surprised when her social security number and home address were read out at Wednesday’s event.
A few hours later, Pereira said supporters were sending her money to buy a new striker, using a popular direct transfer application called PIX.
“Last night when my address and my social security number were revealed I got hundreds of PIX," Pereira said with a smile. “It’s unbelievable. When I saw it I thought, I am being attacked by hackers. But how can it be an attack by hackers if they are transferring money to my account? I’d never seen anything like it. They are Palmeiras fans depositing money in my account so I can bring in a new center forward. They even wrote that in the comments, who the supporters want me to sign. It’s unprecedented.”
Pereira did not state exactly how much she was sent but said she would transfer the money to the club and asked fans to instead use their cash to sign up to Palmeiras' membership scheme.
“Don’t send a PIX to Leila’s account,” she told reporters at her first news conference. “You need to sign up for our membership scheme so you can help our football more directly.”
Sorriso de TRICAMPEÃ ☝️✌️A presidente @leilapereiralp concedeu sua primeira entrevista coletiva na Academia de Futebol. Responsabilidade, transparência e amor pelas nossas cores: vamos juntos pela mesma paixão! ➤ https://t.co/ZG0yXVkWHo#AvantiPalestra pic.twitter.com/OE7VWteSYs
— Palmeiras (@Palmeiras) December 16, 2021
Pereira is president of Crefisa, the Brazilian personal credit company that sponsors Palmeiras.
The multi-millionaire businesswoman gave fans a massive boost by announcing that Portuguese coach Abel Ferreira will continue with the club. Ferreira took the São Paulo side to their second Copa Libertadores win in two years last month and has already cemented his place as a club icon.
“Our coach Abel will remain with us and see out his contract (until 2022),” she said. "How can you change such a winning team?"
— Palmeiras (@Palmeiras) December 15, 2021
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis)