Mencucci: “We will change the history and concept of women’s football”. Breaking down barriers in Italy as ACF Fiorentina starts first ever professionally affiliated women’s football club
It’s an historic moment in Italy as Fiorentina Women’s Football Club has become the first ever professionally affiliated women’s football club.
There is a lot of excitement circulating in Italy with the news of ACF Fiorentina starting the first ever professionally affiliated women’s football club, Fiorentina Women’s Football Club.
This is a huge step for the progress and development of women’s football in Italy and the groundbreaking move has already had a positive impact on the women’s sport in the country as the news gained coverage on national television – which is a first in Italy and a very exciting achievement to build on. Board President Sandro Mencucci took part in an interview recently on Italia 7 about the new project putting the women’s team on prime time news and in the national spotlight.
ACF Fiorentina has set a strong and positive example to which we hope more clubs will follow and support their female counterparts.
“We want to make history in Italian Football and we are proud of this honor. Our objective is to make our professionalism at the service of developing women’s football in Italy. I believe that football must have a women’s component and that if we all work together there is a place for women’s football here in Italy. This project, wanted strongly by Andrea Delle Valle, will see the Fiorentina Women’s Football Club directed by well established sports personalities that have already contributed to the history of the acclaimed Serie A Fiorentina team in recent years.
This progress is not only an important boost for the nation but huge inspiration for aspiring women footballers. ACF Fiorentina acquiring the rights to expand into the women’s game has put the sport in overdrive, the club appears to have followed the model of some of Europe’s best women’s clubs in having a men’s side and a women’s side of the same organization, rather than separating them.
The excitement continues for Fiorentina with the signing of legendary Italian striker Patrizia Panico.
Patrizia Panico, one of the most recognisable names of Italian women’s football and a long standing member and captain of the national team with over 190 caps and over 100 goals. Panico reportedly made the move to Fiorentina a month ago. Last season she won the Italian Women’s Serie A league title with Verona, netting 35 goals along the way.
The striker said when speaking about the move: “Sure, leaving a winning team is never easy, explained the striker who had to renounce playing with Verona this year in the Champion’s League… however as soon as I arrived to Florence, I was convinced by the words of Dr. Mencucci and I was struck by the humbleness with which the Fiorentina has approached women’s football in that their goal is to work for the growth of this sport. In my many years of playing everyone has always been focused on the winning. We will all give our best on the field to reach important results but I can already see that here the principal objective is to break down barriers and to develop this sport by bringing young women athletes closer to their professional male counterparts. I can not wait to go out on the field with my purple shirt!”
Mencucci explained that “we want to change the history and concept of women’s football, by making our efforts a cultural revolution and by putting in place the foundations necessary to grow the number of registered female players currently only at 20,000 and by developing the women’s youth development programs, in order to allow young athletes the opportunity to participate in this beautiful sport!”
“The passion of these young women athletes is incredible! Many of these athletes work and study full-time and their dedication and commitment is already that of a professional. It is time to give credence to the women athlete!”
While we wait in excited anticipation to follow the progress of the first ever professionally affiliated women’s football club in Italy we can all but hope that this is the start of a positive change in mentality towards women’s football in the nation that will lead to improvements in all aspects of the women’s game.
With thanks to Mirjam Carroli