On Tuesday, the FIGC unveiled plans to grow women’s football in Italy. The plan is called ‘Our Tomorrow’,
The five points of the plan are:
- To increase the number of young registered female footballers by 50 percent
- Achieve international success with Italy’s seven national teams
- Improve the standard and allure of domestic competitions
- Grow the fanbase
- Create a professional and sustainable women’s Serie A
The FIGC has set about doing this in several different ways. The first of which is through an increase in coverage. Serie A Femminile is currently broadcast on Sky and TimVision, and the teams themselves have chosen to stream their matches on their social media networks, or on their apps.
As a result of this, television coverage of the women’s matches has increased by 81 percent, while the social media following of the Women’s Football Division has seen 1,000 percent growth.
The Federation also plans to carry out marketing campaigns to improve the image and appeal of women’s football. This ties in with their plans to help Serie A Femminile grow as well. The league has grown in prestige over these past few years and has attracted top-level talent, chief among them being Lina Hurtig and of course, Vero Boquete.
The Growth of the Girls
The federation has stated that one of its main goals is to increase the number of girls playing football in Italy.
As was noted in a previous article about the matter, Italy lags far behind other countries when it comes to girls playing football. Currently, the country only has 24,000 registered players for both girls and women. This is far less than the number of players in other European countries like Germany, which have 203,756 registered players.
The FIGC has already gotten the ball rolling for this in a few subtle ways. The first of which was to get rid of the requirement that the youth players had to stay with their teams until they are 25. Removing this rule will allow the girls to freely choose what team they can play for, which in turn, will help them improve their overall development.
Measures like this will have to be coupled with spending money to create the infrastructure needed to get more girls to play football.
We have yet to see the FIGC’s full plan for getting more girls to play football. The hope is that their measures will not only include these two items but that it will also remove the other stumbling blocks they’ve implemented along the way.
Another interesting point from the FIGC’s plan is their desire to bid for the rights to host a women’s tournament in the near future.
One of the tournaments they can bid for is the upcoming Women’s Euros in 2025. Italy has the necessary structure needed to host the competition and to successfully pull it off.
However, if Italy were to bid for the tournament, then they would face competition from Denmark. So, just as they’ve faced the Danes on the pitch, they’ll also face them off it, as both countries will vie for the rights to host future tournaments.
Only this time around, it may be Italy will emerge as the victors here. The real winners, however, will be the women, as they’ll
The hope is that it’ll have the same positive effect for the Italian women as it did for the last hosts, The Netherlands. The Dutch won the 2017 WEuros and then went on to become a tour de force afterward.
And with any luck, Italy might find themselves doing something similar.
La Riforma dello Sport
Outgoing sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, recently sounded a few alarm bells about a potential setback to professionalizing the women’s game in Italy.
“The Sports Reform expires on the 28th of February. There are only 12 days left. As you all know, we have already approved it in the Council of Ministers, and we have obtained the agreement from the Regions. The only thing missing is the advice of the senate and Chambers’ Cultural Committee, which hasn’t been given yet due to the government’s crisis. I call on my colleagues [...] who, together with others, have worked with me for more than a year on the Reform. Letting the mandate expire would leave the topic of sports’ work, to abandon women’s professionalism, to deny the entry of Paralympics in military sports groups and a lot of other things unresolved.”
Spadafora is referring specifically to the measure known as the 2020 Sports Reform. The 2020 Sports Reforms contains five decrees, and one of the decrees would allow professionalism for Italy’s women athletes.
The reforms, however, have yet to be fully approved. And if they aren’t done so by February 28th, then professionalism for the women might be thrown into a state limbo. Again.
The FIGC, along with the rest of Italy’s government, will have to meet this challenge head on.
The federation should be commended for finally getting serious about growing women’s football in Italy. Though it should be noted that there are many stumbling blocks along the way, and the FIGC were the ones who rolled the stones right into the path of the women and thus impeded their progress.
When it comes to redressing their wrongs, they still have a long way to go. However, they’ve now taken a step in the right direction and are finally serious about helping women’s football grow in Italy.
Let’s hope that they’ll continue to stay the course.