The news that the 2022/23 Serie A Femminile season would see a brand-new and experimental league format introduced raised plenty of eyebrows in the world of Italian women’s football, but there was a general acceptance of its introduction with positive curiosity.
With the so-called regular season now done and dusted and the two new mini-leagues set to start in mid-March, it’s worth taking note of what changes have taken place this season.
What changes have been made to Serie A Femminile?
To start with, Serie A Femminile was reduced from 12 teams to 10 for the 2022/23 season. This was just the first and the most obvious change at first glance, but it was done to not only increase the level of competitiveness in the top tier, but also to accommodate for the second phase of the season.
Prior to the 2022/23 campaign, a Serie A Femminile season saw each of the teams face one another twice – once at home and once away. That remains the procedure for the regular season – meaning 18 matchdays – but then comes the biggest, and most exciting, change.
Once each of the 10 Serie A Femminile sides have met at home and away, the league splits into two mini-leagues, each composed of five teams – named the scudetto pool (the top five) and the survival pool (the bottom five). From there, there are two more rounds of fixtures – eight more matchdays – with top-half sides facing one another and bottom-half sides playing each other.
As there are five teams in each half of the table, one side in each of the so-called pools will have a rest week on any given matchday.
Crucially, teams start the second phase of the season on the points tallies they have accumulated from the regular season, and head-to-head records carry over as well, should they become needed in the event of a tiebreak.
How many Serie A Femminile teams can qualify for the Women’s Champions League?
For the first time in its history, Serie A Femminile had two representatives in the Women’s Champions League in 2022/23 – the maximum possible Italian representation. Both first and second place in Serie A Femminile are rewarded with Women’s Champions League qualification places, from where they embark on a drawn-out qualification process, which both AS Roma and Juventus successfully negotiated their respective ways through in 2022/23.
Juventus narrowly missed out on reaching the knockout rounds after being drawn in a very competitive group, whereas Roma made it through their group in their first-ever season in Europe’s elite club competition.
How many teams are relegated from Serie A Femminile?
As things stand, there are 1.5 relegation places in Serie A Femminile. The bottom-placed side at the end of the second phase of the season will be relegated to Serie B Femminile, while second-from-bottom will face a play-off with a Serie B side for the right to play in the top flight in 2023/24.
It remains to be seen if this current Serie A Femminile format will remain in place on a permanent basis, or if it is just in the early stages of professionalism in Italian women’s football.
It’s worth remembering that the 2022/23 season is the first official campaign of full professionalism for Serie A Femminile.
Serie A Femminile table