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Developing football in Italy

Italy is a football stronghold – and the FIGC plans to ensure that the game remains the country’s most popular sport with a wide portfolio of initiatives.

Italy are one of Europe's most successful footballing nations
Italy are one of Europe's most successful footballing nations ©AFP/Getty Images

Overview

Source: UEFA Grassroots survey (2019)

The FIGC’s mission is to organise and promote football in Italy. The association's three main strategic areas:

Sport activity: organising and optimising national teams’ management; strengthening youth football; developing women’s football; enhancing the preparation of coaches, match officials and managers.

Organisation and financial sustainability: managing of the regulatory framework, sports justice and sustainability of the football system; organisation of major football events in Italy and enhancing the FIGC’s international dimension and Italian football as a whole; supporting investment in sports facilities; increasing brand value, improving digitalisation and technology;

Social commitment: investment in football social responsibility programmes and fighting racism and discrimination; developing activities in Paralympic and experimental football; investing in the cultural heritage of Italian football (e.g. the Italian football museum); improving fan engagement.

Major challenges in Italy include modernisation of stadiums and football infrastructures. Developing a wider number of new-generation football infrastructures would bring significant growth to Italian football, with a higher level of international competitiveness in both sporting and financial terms.

One particularly pleasing area of progress is women’s football. The senior national team reached the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-finals in their first appearance for 20 years, and are now looking forward to taking part in the UEFA Women’s EURO in 2022. Impressive figures highlight the growth of women’s football: between the 2008/09 and 2019/20 seasons, the number of female players increased from 18,854 to 31,390 (+66.5%). On the commercial front, the FIGC started the internalisation of its marketing and commercial operations, and was able to achieve an increase in sponsorship revenue of more than 30%.

During the pandemic, the FIGC has provided support to football stakeholders. Campaigns have raised awareness about the virus and on how to prevent its spread, as well as praising medical personnel at the forefront in fighting the pandemic. In April 2020, the FIGC’s technical centre in Coverciano was made available for use as a hospital for COVID-19 patients.

UEFA support

Through its incentive payments, UEFA HatTrick’s development programme has provided crucial financial support to the FIGC to increase participation in youth and women’s football; enhance the development of elite players; and successfully run football social responsibility and inclusion activities. HatTrick funding projects past and present:

Development, promotion and renovation of the Italian football museum

Coverciano is the base for Italy's national teams
Coverciano is the base for Italy's national teams©Getty Images

The Italian football museum is located in Florence, within the FIGC national training centre at Coverciano, and collects memorabilia (jerseys, footballs, trophies, etc.) and documents that recount the history of the Italian national football teams and the FIGC.

This project’s objectives:

  • Increasing the number of Italian and foreign visitors to the museum;
  • Diversifying the museum’s range of products and services in order to attract different target audiences;
  • Making the Italian football museum an interactive one;
  • Implementing and strengthening the educational programmes offered to schools and youth football clubs.

Tutti in Goal (All in Goal)

How EURO helps Italian football develop
How EURO helps Italian football develop

Every Italian student aged between 10 and 13 gets a chance to score with ‘Tutti in Goal’ (All in Goal). By teaching boys and girls not only to play in but also to run five-a-side tournaments, the initiative shows how football can be a vehicle to teach skills that stretch far beyond the school playing fields.

Teams are assessed on their educational as well as sporting achievements, with all participants encouraged to take part in every aspect of running competitions, from logistics and promotion to communication and even refereeing. Children unable to play matches can learn media skills such as photography, videography and writing news reports about the tournament.

Ragazze in gioco (Girls at Play)

With HatTrick help, the FIGC runs a women’s football project called ‘Ragazze in gioco’ (Girls at Play). The initiative combines football and educational goals in an all-girls’ five-a-side tournament. Successful teams progress from regional competitions to a national tournament, with participants asked to contribute by writing reports, taking photos and producing videos. There is also a wild card place in the final, awarded to the team with the most successful educational results.

This project has empowered schools to build closer connections with local grassroots clubs, increasing opportunities for girls across Italy to play football regularly.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Italy

Set up in 2015, the UEFA foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Play for Change sports centre

Sport is a catalyst for a cultural change and is used to impart the values of discipline, teamwork, fair play and commitment on children and teenagers in the hope that they are motivated to contribute to sustainable community development. The goal is to reduce school drop-out and failure rates, inspire young people to pursue a career and prevent them from becoming involved with criminal gangs. Families and community members will encourage the positive change.

Objectives
• Reduce the school drop-out rate
• Prevent any form of criminal behaviour
• Promote healthy lifestyles
• Provide children with cultural development and physical training
• Integrate children from different backgrounds and those with any form of disability
• Create a community network for positive change

Football for Unity

The aim of this pan-European project is to unite and enable local stakeholder groups to plan, organise and implement their own local legacy sport programmes and impactful events in the context of UEFA EURO 2020. The project will bring together young third-country nationals and young Europeans in seven European capital cities in a series of local football-based programmes, youth forums, integration activities and football for inclusion tournaments (utilising methodologies such as football3) that will demonstrate football’s unique ability to promote equality and social inclusion. The young participants will be able to interact, learn from one another, acquire life skills and become agents of change and community building.

Timeline

Italy were champions of Europe in 1968
Italy were champions of Europe in 1968©Getty Images

Association history

1898: The FIGC is founded on 16 March.
1898:
A tournament featuring four northern Italian teams is held over one day in 1898, with Genoa CFC victorious.
1910: The Italian national team make their debut, beating France 6-2 at the Arena di Milano.
1922: The Coppa Italia is first contested. It is then staged between 1935 and 1943, and definitively from 1958.
1929/30: The inaugural Italian championship is played.
1954: The FIGC is a founder member of UEFA.
1968 & 1980: Italy hosts the EURO finals.
1934 & 1990: The FIFA World Cup is held in Italy.
2021: Rome stages four matches at the pan-European EURO 2020, with Milan and Turin staging the second UEFA Nations League finals.

National team competitions

1934: Italy win their first FIFA World Cup on home soil.
1936: Olympic gold for Italy in Berlin.
1938: A second successive World Cup title for the Azzurri.
1968: Italy win the EURO, again on home soil, beating Yugoslavia in the final.
1968: The women’s national team makes their debut against Czechoslovakia in Viareggio.
1970: The World Cup in Mexico ends with Italy losing the final against Brazil.
1982: A third World Cup triumph in Spain.
1982: The Under-16 team win the European Championship – a feat repeated in 1987.
1994: Italy finish World Cup runners-up, losing the final to Brazil on penalties.
2003: The men’s Under-19s are European champions.
2006: The Azzurri capture the World Cup in Germany, overcoming France on penalties in the final.
2021:
Italy win UEFA EURO 2020, beating final hosts England on penalties in the final. Roberto Mancini's team also feature in the Nations League final four, finishing third.
Italy win the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Gabriele Gravina
Gabriele Gravina©FIGC

President

Gabriele Gravina

Nationality: Italian
Date of birth: 5 October 1953
Association president since: 2018   

Marco Brunelli
Marco Brunelli©FIGC

General secretary

Marco Brunelli

Nationality: Italian
Date of birth: 2 September 1963
Association CEO since: 2019

Italian Football Association website