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In the Federal Council on Tuesday the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) completed the transition to professionalism of the women’s movement. From 1 July the Serie A – the top national championship – will therefore become a professional tournament in all respects and a real profession will be created according to the law, that of a footballer. For the first time in the history of Italian sport, there will be professional athletes.
Until now, all Italian women’s sport operated outside of professionalism and football was framed as amateur. Consequently, the compensation of players and employees of the teams was given in the form of reimbursements and private agreements. Furthermore, even though I was in fact carrying out a full-time job, the absence of real employment contracts did not guarantee social security payments, insurance protection and collective bargaining.
With the transition to professionalism – allowed and facilitated by the budget law passed two years ago, but slowed down by the effects of the pandemic – protections and compensation will be extended to all members.
In Italy, the recognition of professionalism, or the choice of whether or not to join the professional sector and the Olympic Committee, is up to the individual sports federations. After the success of the World Cup in France in 2019, in which the women’s national team had reached the quarter-finals, the president of the FIGC Gabriele Gravina had said that he was at work but that he also needed time, given that professionalism required the achievement of widespread economic sustainability between teams and leagues.
In recent years, the entry of historically male clubs in the Italian women’s championships had significantly increased public interest, especially in Serie A, which over time has gained new sponsors and television contracts. The FIGC also finances the movement with 3.5 million dolars per year. However, the Serie A championship is still made up of several small clubs that will have to be supported, at least initially, to withstand the impact of the new costs.
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