Diletta Leotta: ‘It was not easy to fit into a world dominated by males’ | Women’s football

Welcome to Moving the Goalposts, the Guardian’s new (and free) girls’s football publication. Here’s an extract from this week’s version. To obtain the complete model as soon as a week, simply pop your e-mail beneath:

This summer time has, greater than ever, targeted eyes on the achievements of girls on the pitch. Players from across the world have dazzled followers and emphatically illustrated that that is the place they belong.

Just as necessary, nevertheless, is the growing visibility of girls in roles off the pitch. Nowhere is that this extra evident than inside the media. Over the previous few years we’ve seen increasingly feminine voices concerned as journalists, on the radio and as presenters and pundits on our tv screens.

Italy’s Diletta Leotta is a shining instance. As a presenter for DAZN for the previous 4 years, she is the face of the platform’s Serie A protection and has additionally labored on its Women’s Champions League broadcasting. With greater than a decade of expertise, she has had to break by way of the limitations of a historically male enterprise and takes immense pleasure in working for a group that’s now 40% feminine.

“In 2018 I keep in mind that I was fully alone on the sphere”, she tells Moving the Goalposts. “But now [there] are so many ladies doing this job so I’m actually glad to be a part of this group full of girls. At the start it was not easy to fit on this world dominated by males. And now, I feel that we’re prepared to expertise an inclusive present with football and ladies in football.”

Affable and energetic, it’s clear inside minutes of assembly Leotta how passionate she is about her job. “I’ve cherished football since I was a little woman. It by no means stops stunning me, and it by no means stops being thrilling,” she says. “My final match, Milan [against Internazionale] in San Siro was unbelievable. The environment and the derby was loopy. I’ve to say that I’m fortunate as a result of I do what I really like to do.”

Football in Italy is usually stated to be “like a faith”. This means there’s little room for error in public-facing roles. That stress would get to most individuals, however Leotta’s key piece of recommendation is to stay genuine. “You have to be good once you discuss football,” she says. “I was fully obsessive about being good and typically I misplaced my authenticity. But now I feel that I’m prepared to be myself each time and present my character. Maybe this is without doubt one of the most necessary issues that I can do.”

Leotta has a agency eye on the progress of the ladies’s sport in her nation. She lists presenting protection of the Women’s Champions League last in Turin in May as one in all her favourite achievements. “During that match you may see these wonderful football gamers, [who were] tremendous skilled,” she recollects. “They encourage the brand new era, and you may see now it’s regular to see a little woman who needs to be a football participant.”

The Serie A Femminile started in Italy a fortnight in the past, and Juventus and Roma can even characteristic on this 12 months’s Champions League. With DAZN proudly owning the printed rights to the WCL, Leotta is worked up to have extra probabilities to work inside the feminine sport: “I’m prepared to restart with football and with girls in football. It’s good as a result of in Italy, football, like I stated earlier than, is like faith, but additionally feminine football is growing a lot. I might see this in the course of the Champions League as a result of so many individuals had been there, and the environment was excellent.”

Lyon gamers have fun successful the Women’s Champions League last after beating Barcelona within the last at Juventus Stadium. Photograph: DeFodi Images/Getty Images

While home football could also be going robust, Italy’s struggles on the worldwide entrance are not any secret. The males failed to qualify for this winter’s World Cup whereas the ladies failed to advance from their group at Euro 2022, regardless of a lot anticipation. “It’s not a good second,” Leotta ruefully explains. “I keep in mind that in 2019, Italy [women] performed very nicely and the tv and newspapers paid necessary consideration to these football gamers. I want to keep in mind that second not simply because I want to see the intense aspect of life, however I feel that now we’ve to restart for the ladies’s nationwide group, but additionally the men’s. It’s not easy to have a World Cup with out Italy.”

This hope might not be too far off. Since our dialog, Italy has secured computerized qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Another alternative maybe for the gamers and ladies working within the sport to take middle stage.

Talking factors

Start of WSL delayed: With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, all football was referred to as off by the FA as a mark of respect. On Monday, the return of matches was permitted, and the season will now start this weekend. Arsenal are kicking off proceedings towards Brighton at Borehamwood on Friday night.

Officials on strike: The begin of Liga F, Spain’s new girls’s skilled league, was referred to as off final weekend due to a strike by its referees. They are asking for elevated pay {and professional} working circumstances. In considerably absurd circumstances, groups nonetheless traveled and walked out for matches regardless of understanding they’d not play.

Road to Australia and New Zealand: Two of the house nations and the Republic of Ireland have discovered their playoff destiny for the World Cup qualifiers. In spherical one, Scotland will host Austria in a difficult encounter at Hampden Park. Should they win, they may then host Ireland. Wales, in the meantime, will entertain Bosnia-Herzegovina. Switzerland awaits the winner in spherical two.

Natasha Harding (left) and Wales must win two rounds of playoff games to reach the World Cup.
Natasha Harding (left) and Wales should win two rounds of playoff video games to attain the World Cup. Photograph: Athena Pictures/Getty Images

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