Italian women’s cup final called off after official’s ‘lesbians’ comment20 May 2015

TheItalianwomen’scupfinalhasbeencalledoffasaresultofcommentsbyaseniorfootballofficialreferringtofemaleplayersasa“bunchoflesbians”.

ACF Brescia Femminile were scheduled to play Tavagnacco on Saturday but the match has been scrapped, the association representing female players and coaches, has confirmed.

Felice Belloli, the president of the county’s amateur football association, made the comments when discussing funding for women’s football in the country. At a meeting of the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti (LND) he is alleged to have said: “That’s enough, we can’t always talk about giving money to this bunch of lesbians.”

The Italian Football Association (FIGC) opened an investigation last Friday after it had been sent the minutes of the LND meeting but Belloli was quick to deny making the comments.

“I never signed those minutes,” Belloli told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Can you see my signature on them? No, and I can tell you why – because minutes can be taken and amended by anybody. I know how the minutes are taken at the LND. All I am saying is that I did not utter that phrase.”

Luisa Rizzitelli, president of the national association for female athletes, is among those calling for Belloli to resign while Patrizia Panico, the Verona and Italy midfielder, said that if the comments had been accurately reported then they were “sexist, male chauvinist and ignorant”.

The president of the FIGC, Carlo Tavecchio, said: “If Belloli said these words then it is a serious matter. It is an odious and unacceptable phrase.”

Campaigners and football leaders call for demonstrations 
Following Belloli’s comments, a social movement campaigning for the promotion of women’s football, headed by Elisabetta Cortani, president of Lazio feminile, and Walter Pettinati, founder of calciodonne.it, arose in Italy calling on football fans, players and men’s football to demonstrate in support of women’s football.

On 30 May demonstrations demanding support and equality in women’s football to further the growth of sport in Italy will take place across the country’s main cities.

Elisabetta Cortani, president of Lazio feminile said: “All members of society, youth, regional and national football are invited to participate in this historic event on 30 May.

“It is not acceptable that Italy’s professional football, four times world champion, does not care about furthering the growth of women’s football as it happens in other countries. It is a matter of national pride and national sport.

“We want to build our future for women’s football backed by UEFA and FIFA, without the exiting the filters of LND”.

The Guardian

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