Sara Gama, captain of Italy and Juventus, recently joined the FIFPRO Global Player Council. FIFPRO spoke to her about the growth of women's football in Italy, and being part of the council.
The Italian football federation (FIGC) still defines all women as amateur players. But now it is discussing with the government changes to 1981 legislation that would allow them to become professional from 2022.
What would a professional league in 2022 mean for female players? I am expecting the new professional league to offer players more security as employees of Italian football clubs. This will make Italian football stronger. Right now players are given wages but not employee contracts with which they could apply for pension benefits, bank loans, insurance and retirement plans. Professional contracts will also allow players to transfer from club to club more easily. The new league might not guarantee players more payment, but it will give us more security. I am expecting to see a strategy from the Federcalcio (Italian Football Federation) regarding the plans to professionalize women’s football league soon.
Is the media attention and sponsorship outlook in Italy changing? After the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019 there was an eruption in media attention and sponsorship offers in Italy. We showed that finally women’s football is progressing. We showed that Italy has a tradition in football, no matter whether men or women are playing. Football is part of our country. Television stations have been showing more and more interest to broadcast games. Sky Italia just announced a two-year contract to broadcast two Serie A games each week. TIM Vision is the main sponsor of the Serie A and plans to broadcast all leagues games. National team games are broadcast on public television station RAI. Sponsorship offers have also been on the rise. PUPA cosmetics, for example, is the first sponsor for the Italian women’s national team and M&Ms sponsors the Juventus women’s team.
What is your experience so far on the FIFPRO Global Player Council? I am thrilled to be a part of the FIFPRO Global Player Council. During the COVID-19 lockdown I attended a few online meetings where female players communicated some of the problems they face with football in their countries. The player’s council is different from the Italian football board, of which I am also a member, because it is more detailed and personal. As a member of the Italian board I meet with the presidents of associations and clubs, whereas the FIFPRO council gives players a chance to express their needs and discuss possible solutions that could help football grow in each respective country.