We sat down with Alessandro Orlandi, Founder of Studio Assist & Partners, a players agency in Italy who manages leading Italian players such as Elena Linari of Atletico Madrid , and Lisa Boattin and Aurora Galli of Juventus. Let’s see the state of women’s football in Italy from their point of view.
SM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Tell us a bit about Studio Assist & Partners and how the agency got into working with female players?
AO: Studio Assist & Partners, founded by the different skills of professionals from the world of football and the company’s management; is a company that supports the management of the careers of footballers taking care of the research and the stipulation of the best professional contract. Furthermore, the Studio is able to provide full assistance to clubs in the areas of marketing, communication, technical area and legal area ensuring the highest standards of professionalism and competence.
We started working in the women’s world two years ago. At the beginning it was not easy, little professionalism of the clubs and sometimes of some players. Many of our competitors took us for crazy, now the same compliment us for having invested in this world. We were the first to believe it and time is proving us right.
SM: As an agency, what areas of support around the players do you see that there is still a difference from the men’s game?
AO: We offer the same services to men and women. Players are assisted with the logic of service tailored for all issues related to the relationship with the football club, the transfer in Italy and abroad, with the terms / renewals of contracts and research of technical sponsorships / advertising agreements.
The biggest difference is that in Italy the players do not yet have a professional status so you need to have knowledge of all the amateur football regulations.
SM: The highlight of the season in Italy was the match between Juventus and Fiorentina for the first time in the Allianz Stadium. In general, the state of stadiums even in the men’s game has a lot to improve, how much was this an influential step in Italian football?
AO: Unfortunately, the stadium issue is a sore point of our football. Currently, only Juventus, Sassuolo, Udinese and recently Atalanta have their own stadium. This influences the revenues but above all the stadium experience that is increasingly poor in Italy. In women, even worse, in most cases girls are required to play at the clubs’ sports centers or in small provincial stadiums. The Allianz Stadium match was a good event, we hope there is a following.
SM: CONI President, Giovanni Malago, said that Italy needs to host a major tournament such as the UEFA Euro 2028 in order to drive investment in new facilities. Could you see a big Women’s tournament coming to Italy and drive that investment?
AO: I sincerely hope so. A women’s tournament would be wonderful to grow the movement in Italy. Honestly, I don’t know if we’re ready for this. Malagò is right in saying that by hosting an international tournament we will receive useful funds to invest in our infrastructure. It is also true, however, that we must start designing in the long term, with plans to improve everything, stages, logistics and above all stricter controls for the clubs regarding their finances.
SM: You currently have players at Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Inter Milan, what are your impressions from working with these clubs in terms of where they want to take the women’s game?
AO: Working abroad with clubs is always pleasant and professional. They, as always, are light years ahead of us but the entry of Juventus into women just over two years ago was fundamental in Italy. They brought professionalism and working methods equal to those of the male. Now working with the major Italian clubs like Milan, Fiorentina and Inter, back in Serie A from next year, is much easier.
SM: How big of a factor is the salary cap currently imposed on women’s football Italy in terms of growing the game?
AO: It affects a lot because it prevents clubs from buying the best foreign players, impelling the increase in the value of the Italian championship. However, the turn seems to be near. It is said that the transition from amateurism to the professional world is a matter of months. We look forward to this change, more protection for the players and for our work.
SM: To finalize, Some of your players will be going to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this June. What are the expectations and hopes from the Italian team?
AO: We are very proud of our three players in the Italian national team; Boattin, Galli and Linari. We have great faith in them and in the national team that will give us great satisfaction. There are great teams and much more experienced. The goal is surely to pass the group stage and then who knows, dreaming is not forbidden.