Diletta Lotta: “It was not easy to fit into a world dominated by men” | Women’s football

Welcome to Moving the Goalposts, The Guardian’s new (and free) women’s football newsletter. Here’s an excerpt from this week’s issue. To receive the full version once a week, simply enter your email below:

This summer, more than ever, attention has been focused on the women’s achievements on the field. Players from all over the world have wowed fans and made it clear that this is where they belong.

Equally important, however, is the increased visibility of women in off-field roles. Nowhere is this more evident than in the media. Over the past few years, we’ve seen more and more female voices participate as journalists, on radio and as presenters and debaters on our television screens.

Italy’s Diletta Lotta is a prime example. As an anchor for DAZN for the past four years, she is the face of top-flight coverage on the platform and has also worked to broadcast the UEFA Women’s Champions League. With over a decade of experience, she has had to break through the barriers of traditional male business and takes great pride in working with a team that is now 40% female.

“In 2018, I remember being completely alone in the field,” It says “move the goal”. “but now [there] Lots of women do this work, so I’m really happy to be part of this team full of women. At first it wasn’t easy to adapt in this male-dominated world. And now, I think we are ready to experience an all-encompassing show with football and women in football.”

Cute and energetic, it’s clear within minutes of meeting Leotta how passionate she is about her job. “I have loved football since I was a little girl. It never stops surprising me, and it never stops being exciting,” she says. “My last match, Milan [against Internazionale] At San Siro it was incredible. The atmosphere and the derby were crazy. I must say that I am fortunate to do what I love to do.”

It is often said that football in Italy is “like religion”. This means that there is no room for error in audience-facing roles. This pressure will reach most people, but Leotta’s key advice is to stay authentic. “You have to be perfect when you talk about football,” she says. “I was completely obsessed with perfection and at times I lost my originality. But now I think I am ready to be myself every time and show my personality. This is probably one of the most important things I can do.”

Lotta persistently monitors the progress of the women’s game in her country. It lists providing coverage UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in Turin May as one of her favorite achievements. “During that match you could see the great football players, [who were] You remember. “They are inspiring the new generation, and you can now see that it is normal to see a young girl who wants to become a footballer.”

Italy’s Women’s Serie A started two weeks ago, and Juventus and Roma will also participate in this year’s Champions League. With DAZN owning the broadcast rights to WCL, Leotta is excited to have more opportunities to work within the women’s game: “I’m ready to start playing with football and with women in football. It’s great because football is in Italy, like I said before, like Religion, but women’s football is also increasing a lot. I could see that during the Champions League because a lot of people were there, and the atmosphere was very good.”

Lyon players celebrate winning the Champions League final after beating Barcelona in the final at Juventus Stadium. Photo: DeFodi Images / Getty Images

While domestic football may be strong, Italy’s struggles internationally is no secret. Men failed to qualify for the World Cup this winter while women They failed to advance from their group At Euro 2022, despite a lot of expectations. “It’s not a good moment,” Liotta explains wistfully. “I remember it in 2019, Italy [women] She played very well and the TV and newspapers paid attention to these footballers. I prefer to remember that moment not only because I prefer to see the bright side of life, but I think now we have to restart for the women’s national team, but also for the men. It is not easy to hold the World Cup without Italy.”

This hope may not be out of reach. Since we spoke, Italy has successfully secured automatic qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Another opportunity perhaps for players and women working in the sport to take the lead.

talking points

Delayed start of WSL: With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the FA canceled all football as a sign of respect. On Monday, matches were approved to return, and the season will now begin this weekend. Arsenal start action against Brighton at Borehamwood on Friday night.

Strike officials: The start of Liga F, Spain’s new women’s professional league, was canceled last weekend due to a A strike by its rulers. They are demanding higher wages and professional working conditions. In somewhat absurd circumstances, teams continued to travel and go out for matches even though they knew they would not be playing.

The way to Australia and New Zealand: Two of their national teams and the Republic of Ireland learned their fate in the World Cup qualifiers. In the first round, Scotland will host Austria in a difficult meeting in Hampden Park. If they win, they will host Ireland. In the meantime, Wales will host the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. Switzerland is waiting for the winner in the second round.

Natasha Harding (left) and Wales must win two play-off rounds to reach the World Cup.
Natasha Harding (left) and Wales must win two play-off rounds to reach the World Cup. Photo: Athena Pictures/Getty Images

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