Following a summer of uncertainty and a club statement in July announcing that Sampdoria‘s funding of their women’s team would cease to operate with immediate effect, the Ligurian club have now confirmed, just two weeks before the beginning of the 2023/24 season, that Sampdoria Women will in fact take their place in Serie A Femminile for the coming campaign.

In what has been a monumental summer for women’s football worldwide, the environment in Italy has exposed itself as being a long way behind where it should be. Beyond the saga that has surrounded Sampdoria Women, which even saw their players publicly speak out to lament the uncertainty surrounding their contracts in August, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have also failed to secure a television rights deal, meaning the first five matchdays of the 2023/24 season will go without television coverage.

The 2023/24 Serie A Femminile season is set to kick off on the weekend of September 16/17. The full schedule is available here.

Sampdoria Women will continue in Serie A Femminile for 2023/24

Samp confirmed their commitment to continuing their women’s team in a statement at 20:20 CEST on Saturday, September 2, 2023.

U.C. Sampdoria announces that it will continue its commitment to the women’s team and the entire women’s sector,” the statement read.

“The ownership has remained faithful to the agreements made with the Federation, the clubs, the players and the staff. Despite the economic difficulty surrounding the club’s restructuring plan, it was deemed necessary to give continuity to an important project that will continue to support women’s football in Genoa and in Italy.”

Timeline: What is happening with Sampdoria Women?

Thankfully, it has now been confirmed that Sampdoria Women will take their place as planned in Serie A Femminile for the 2023/24 season. Below is a timeline of the events that have taken us to this point.

Throughout all of this, it is worth keeping in mind that Sampdoria purchased Florentia San Gimignano‘s place as recently as the beginning of the 2021/22 season, meaning they have only been operational at the top level for two years.

2022/23 season: The Great Escape

The 2022/23 season ended in spectacular fashion for Sampdoria. Inspired by Juventus loanee Agnese Bonfantini, the Blucerchiate completed a miraculous great escape to avoid relegation on the penultimate matchday of the season and send Parma to Serie B, this despite the Ligurian side having looked dead and buried for an extended period of the campaign.

Sampdoria players later claimed that they went unpaid for the month of June 2023.

June 2023: Sampdoria bought out by new owners

Andrea Radrizzani acquired the club from former owner Massimo Ferrero and there were immediate concerns in the women’s football community due to the indifference previously shown to women’s football by the new owners.

July 19, 2023: Sampdoria remove funding for women’s football

In a statement released at 22:22 CEST on Wednesday, July 19, Sampdoria announced their decision to remove their women’s team. This, in turn, had a knock-on effect. It meant other clubs were waiting to see how the situation in Liguria would unfold before finalising their own squads due to the uncertainty of whether or not they would be playing in Serie B or be promoted to Serie A.

U.C. Sampdoria announces its withdrawal from professional women’s football,” read the Sampdoria statement

Sampdoria will return to investing in women’s football, which will be a cornerstone for future social projects within the city. The club will be present in schools to promote the integration of girls in football with complete inclusion and without prejudice.

“Unfortunately, the economic situation inherited [by the new ownership] and the excessive costs of running a professional women’s team in Serie A do not allow us to continue at this time.

“This is also a decision taken out of respect for Sampdoria‘s creditors and employees who have made a number of sacrifices in recent months and continue to do so in order to ensure the future of the club.”

August 19, 2023: Sampdoria Women players publish open letter

Finally sharing their side of the farcical series of events in Liguria, Sampdoria Women players posted an open letter on their individual social media accounts. The full statement is as follows:

“Until now, our story has remained untold, as we have endured a prolonged period of uncertainty under our club’s management. Today, we seize the opportunity to shed light on our present circumstances.

“Despite four weeks having passed, the new owners, [Andrea] Radrizzani and [Matteo] Manfredi, have yet to communicate the future of Sampdoria Women. With the Serie A season less than a month away, we, the players, are eager and prepared to start, yet we have not received any instructions to commence pre-season training.

“The delay in training and the absence of communication have plunged us into an uncomfortable situation: missing housing, stability and even salaries. Remarkably, in contrast to the male senior team, we have not even received payments for the month of June of last season. Once again, the inequality between the treatment of the women’s team and the men’s team is glaringly apparent.

“These setbacks expose us to a heightened risk of injuries, which could potentially affect our careers. Beyond the physical toll, we want to highlight the impact on our mental well-being – feelings of worry, stress, signs of depression, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty.

“Before being athletes, we are humans who are suffering in this situation. We deserve respect, a sentiment that has been lacking thus far from the new owners. For these compelling reasons, we ask the club to make decisive choices, whatever they may be, to end this distressing situation and allow every player to be in charge of their own future.”

August 24, 2023: A vague Sampdoria statement

Sampdoria then responded, although their statement did not confirm whether or not they would take their place in Serie A Femminile, instead hinting that their position may be sold to another club. Total Italian Football understands that, at the beginning of the summer, at least one Serie B side were seeking an opportunity to buy a place in Serie A. It is worth remembering that Samp purchased Florentia San Gimignano‘s place at the beginning of the 2021/22 season.

U.C. Sampdoria announces that it is continuing in its efforts to find the best possible solution for the women’s first team,” Sampdoria said in a statement on August 24, 2023.

“After the official press release on July 19, the club has activated various institutional and entrepreneurial negotiations, also outside of Liguria, in order to not give up our place in Serie A Femminile, to protect and safeguard the working commitments of the professional players, their professionalism and the integrity of the competition.

“In the last few weeks, an opportunity for dialogue has opened up, favoured by potential new investors.

“In the meantime, the nine registered players have already undergone medical examinations and will resume training in Bogliasco with all of the facilities at the club made available to them: from technical, athletic and medical staff to their own sports facilities.”

September 2, 2023: Sampdoria saved two weeks before 2023/24 season

Thankfully, it has now been confirmed that Sampdoria Women will take their place as planned in Serie A Femminile for the 2023/24 season.

Samp confirmed their commitment to continuing their women’s team in a statement at 20:20 CEST on Saturday, September 2, 2023, as included above.