“Women’s football is breaking down barriers and fences …” – Doubt

Ludovica Mantovani grew up in the world of football: she is the daughter of the unforgettable Paolo Mantovani, president of Sampdoria who won the Scudetto in 1991. It was the time of the “goal twins” Vialli and Mancini. The skills and knowledge of the world of football have allowed her to reach the top of the women’s division of the FIGC. “Our mission,” he says Doubts “It’s about breaking down all the cultural barriers and making it possible for girls to choose to play football.” An ambitious goal that immediately looks to the European Women’s Championship, scheduled in England from 6 July.

President Mantovani, women’s football is gaining interest. It depends on what?

Surely for the opportunity to have great visibility and results in the field of the Azzurre. The 2019 World Cup intrigued many fans. From there, then, the work done with the Division allowed women’s football, thanks to our media, to promote more and more elite leagues and competitions, thanks to new and more exciting formats. Today we reach a large audience weekly both at home and abroad. All this makes it clear that, despite having begun our journey a little after other nations, the acceleration and work done by all stakeholders in recent years is yielding excellent results.

Will the exclusion of the men’s national team from the Qatar World Cup increase the focus on women’s football?

In 2019 there was a lot of desire for the blue shirt. Milena Bertolini’s girls qualified for the World Cup after twenty years and have transmitted an indescribable excitement to the environment. From there, interest in the selection grew and became constant. The European Championship in England is highly anticipated and we are also proud of the path of our Under 19 led by Enrico Sbardella.

What does the FIGC Women’s Football Division do to bring boys and girls closer to football?

In fact, I would say that the mission of the Federation is to break down all cultural barriers and make it possible for girls to choose to play football. The Women’s Football Division and the FIGC Youth School Sector work in harmony to bring girls closer to our sport in protected environments. Our champions have become true “Models”, athletes in whom they can recognize and identify who they know have a great responsibility on and off the field today. The big step was taken by the Federation in 2015, when it forced all men’s professional teams to develop a women’s youth sector internally or in collaboration. We hope to structure ourselves gradually and with the same attention throughout Italy. In the South, there may be fewer opportunities, but there are virtuous realities. I think of Pink Bari who, despite having sold the first team sports title at Ternana this year, continues to bet on the little ones. It will take a while, but I’m pretty sure. The positive signs are many.

In men’s football, the agents are very influential. How’s it going? Will more and more specialized figures be needed to support clubs and players?

With the changes that have taken place and with those underway, with the status of professional athletes, we are approaching the new season with the awareness that the women’s sector is entering a new stage. Professional athletes must be assisted by an agent. I hope that all athletes, from the youngest to the best, whether they are boys or girls, are always supported by people who do their best interest with professional skills and human sensitivity.

Will the stadiums fill up more and more with you too?

In women’s football, in terms of big events, we’ve seen some impressive numbers this sports season. Take, for example, the record set at the Camp Nou in Barcelona for the semi-finals of the Champions League, with more than ninety thousand spectators. In Italy, we know that infrastructure is our Achilles heel. The women’s Serie A, as well as the men’s spring championships, two realities that I associate because they have the same type of legislation regarding the exceptions regarding the size of the playing field, would need dedicated structures, mini-stadiums. The investments that will be made will go in the direction of increasing the audience in the stands. After a long period played behind closed doors, due to the medical emergency, we find ourselves with the public in the stadiums not only for the Serie A championship but also for the cadet. A few days ago the Final Four of the Spring Championship was held in the center of Coni de Tirrenia. A sports venue that hosts our national youth teams for rallies. Given the capacity of the structure, however, only families were able to attend the event live, but we received many requests for accreditation and the live broadcast reached significant numbers. It is a great sign that will lead us to reflect on the choice of location for next year.

What are the goals of the FIGC women’s soccer division for next season?

These days, the club’s registration procedures for the championships are open. We support the teams in these steps, many of which are characterized by various bureaucratic requirements that this year present many new features for the Serie A. With professional status, the FIGC, for example, has launched a clearing house. However, the goal is also to support the cadet series with the same commitment. We will continue to give maximum support to the sixteen teams that play in the only group in Serie B and that face a championship that should not be too detached from the maximum championship. Another fixed point is the implementation of communication, based on social. We will continue to tell stories about our world to make our reality known, involving more and more partners who will help us in the main goal: to achieve the sustainability of the whole system over time.