The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, met with the Italian National Women’s Football Team, who just participated in the final stages of the 2019 World Cup in France, during a moving and well-attended event at the Quirinal Palace.
Among the speakers were the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malagò, the President of the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, Gabriele Gravina, the Technical Commissioner of the Italian National Women’s Football Team, Milena Bertolini, and the team’s Captain, Sara Gama.
In offering his congratulations, Mattarella stressed the fact that this was “an incredible World Cup, not only for the results, which were significant, but for the game you gave voice to.” In his speech, the President of the Republic cited the games he personally assisted (the first one against Australia, the one opposite Brazil, and the one with China) and expressed his gratitude “because the entire country was watching you; it provided a much-needed moment of congruence for our country. And having contributed to making our country seem united, even for a sporting event - an important one for that matter - is a great result.” he added.
“I want to tell you that we don’t know who will win this World Cup but you’ve won here, in Italy, you conquered public opinion, you’ve brought irrevocable attention to women’s soccer,” continued the Head of State, who concluded his speech by stressing the issue of women’s soccer not being recognized as men’s soccer. “I can’t not stress how a difference in treatment between men’s and women’s soccer is completely irrational and unacceptable. Especially since the former has provided a precious dose of oxygen to the sport in our country by showing strong technical skills and, I would like to add, without any controversy or squabbles - and even with fewer recourses to those infringements that we often see during soccer matches, to simulations, or to all those behaviors that can be useful but are unsportsmanlike.”
Sara Gama, the Captain, thanked the President by citing Article 3 of the Italian Constitution, which by the way is the number on her jersey: “All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal in front of the Law…”
“Being here is reason for great pride because usually winning teams are welcomed here: we didn’t win but we did something important. And that’s a reason to be proud.” said the Technical Commissioner, Milena Bertolini.
“I want to say, sorry for the delay,” said the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malagò, also praising the great and especially symbolic success of these Italian athletes.