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That move never materialized. There
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Italy’s surprise run to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup this year went a long way toward changing misconceptions about the female game in a country where the most popular sport is dominated by men.Out of a population of 60 million , more than 20 million spectators watched Italy’s five matches on RAI state TV, setting audience records for women’s soccer game after game.Nearly all of the big men’s clubs Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Roma have recently developed teams to play in the growing Serie A women’s league with games shown live on Sky Italia every weekend.A record crowd of nearly 40,000 fans showed up in Turin last March to watch Juventus play Fiorentina the club that was at the forefront of the female game domestically.Yet one major aspect of women’s soccer has not changed in Italy. Female players are still considered amateurs by Italian law and therefore are not permitted to earn more than 30,000 euros ($33,000) per year before taxes.“The difference is there and we all know it,” Juventus forward Barbara Bonansea said this week when Italy’s squad was awarded the Foreign Press Association’s Invictus award for promoting and “emancipating” the female game in the country.“Before discussing earnings I would talk about our rights. I don’t play because I want to earn as much as the men, also because that would not make sense, they earn so much I can’t even wrap my mind around it. We just want what we deserve. That’s what we’re fighting for Emily Sonnett Jersey ,” added Bonansea, who is nearing an economics degree at the University of Turin. “If there’s more coverage of our games and more sponsors come in, then we deserve more, too.”The Italian soccer federation and Vincenzo Spadafora, Italy’s new Minister for Sport and Youth Policies, both support changing the 1981 law and making the women’s league professional.Still, new legislation remains a long way off.“It’s the minimum they deserve,” Italian national team coach Milena Bertolini said. “We have an antiquated law. It’s shameful. If we want to be a modern, democratic and open society . we need to be treated with dignity.”There’s a similar situation in Spain, where players in the women’s league decided to go on strike Wednesday after failing to reach a deal with clubs over working hours and minimum wages. Also Sam Mewis Jersey , the U.S. women’s team sued its federation in March three months before winning the World Cup alleging gender and pay discrimination.Bonansea’s two-goal performance in Italy’s 2-1 comeback win over Australia got the ball rolling for the Azzurre at their first World Cup in two decades. She discussed the “pyschological violence” that she and other players faced growing up in a country where girls were not expected or even allowed to play soccer.Bonansea began playing on her brother’s team and didn’t join a girls’ squad until she was 13.The 53-year-old Bertolini had to dress up as a boy to play as a kid.“When I was 9 or 10 I had short hair and my teammates didn’t even know whether I was a boy or a girl. So I played and everyone called me ‘Mario’ and nobody noticed,” Bertolini said. “This caused a lot of (pain) which I had to bear for a long time.”Sexism remains embedded in the Italian game’s terminology with coaches referred to as “Mister” a term left over from when the English introduced soccer to Italy at the end of the 19th century.“I call (Bertolini) Mister,” Bonansea said. “It’s just a matter of habit. But we can change it.”The word “uomo” man is used to announce when an opposing player is coming up from behind and in “marcatura a uomo” man-to-man defense.“The terminology we use on the field is copied completely from male soccer. Our soccer is still in its early stages but I think it’s important that this should change,” Bertolini said. “The word used most on the field is ‘uomo.’ And I don’t like that.”But the women’s players are changing perceptions in other ways.Bonansea is the face of a Nike campaign aimed at young girls in Italy while Juventus and national team captain Sara Gama the daughter of an Italian mother and a Congolese father had a Barbie doll modeled after her.Last week, national team defender Elena Linari became the first prominent Italian soccer player male or female to publicly come out as gay.“Here in Madrid I don’t have any problems,” said Linari, who plays for Atlético Madrid. “Whereas in Italy, I’m afraid to discuss the subject because I don’t know what the reaction might be.“My grandmother’s reaction was touching. She was happy for me but she was crying when she said she was afraid for me because we’re not protected,” Linari added to RAI.Bertolini applauded Linari’s announcement, noting the prejudice toward homosexuals in Italy.“Kids are afraid to express themselves ,” Bertolini said. “She was very courageous and now let’s hope announcements like these help change the mentality here.”Making the women professionals would be a big improvement, too. Gareth Bale’s future is once again in doubt.The Welsh winger traveled to London with the permission of Real Madrid to see his agent this week, reigniting speculation about a possible departure after coach Zinedine Zidane said in July it would best for the player and the club to part ways.Zidane has since backtracked and said Bale is an important player for him, but the damage was done to the public image of their relationship.Bale was in the British capital on Tuesday and Spanish television broadcaster Cuatro filmed him arriving to see his agent, Jonathan Barnett. Barnett told Cuatro that their meeting was “private.”When asked if Bale was happy at Madrid, Barnett said: “Ecstatic.”Bale did not answer questions from journalists at the airport.Bale has missed three matches with a left calf injury he picked up in a European Championship qualifier with Wales more than two weeks ago. Zidane did not include Bale in his lineup for Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Leganés.Zidane also dropped the Welshman him from his squad for two matches before he was injured. Otherwise, he has scored two goals both in a 2-2 draw with Villarreal in seven appearances this season.“A lot of things are said and we think that Bale is a player who is here, who puts in a lot of effort and trains well,” Zidane said Tuesday. “He’s important for this squad and for the club. When he’s not available, he’s not available because he’s got something and that’s it.”Zidane said Bale had not told him why he needed to go to London and had received permission to do so directly from the club.“He’s never talked about leaving McCall Zerboni Jersey ,” Zidane said. “He stayed in the summer and it’s better for everyone. He’s here and he’s happy to be here. It’s impossible to lose the desire. I don’t think about offers coming in.”Those words of support contrast with Zidane’s statements during the offseason when he said the club was close to transferring Bale and that it would be “the best for everyone.”That move never materialized. There were rumors of a Chinese club willing to match or improve his annual salary of 15 million euros ($16.6 million). The other clubs, particularly the richest English teams, were considered the most likely candidates to offer a new destination for Bale.Madrid paid a then world-record 100 million euros (then $132 million) for Bale to pry him from Tottenham in 2013. He has delivered some amazing goals on the biggest stages. He romped down the field to score the late winner against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey, and his stunning bicycle kick for the first of his two goals in the 2018 Champions League final victory over Liverpool is one Madrid’s faithful will never forget.Otherwise, his stint at Madrid has been plagued by nagging injuries and many fans have lost patience with his regularly uninspired performances.Bale had his opportunity to claim the status as Madrid’s leader when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus. Instead, he and the rest of his teammates have failed to replace the Portugal forward’s missing goals.Now, following his London excursion, the pressure is back on Bale and Madrid to clarify their plans with the transfer window opening in two months.

Posted Dec 30, 2019, 6:03 am
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