Matchday 23 of the 2022/23 Serie A season was never likely to be the most entertaining set of fixtures, with the first of the round in Sassuolo hosting runaway leaders Napoli being the pick of the bunch. But anybody tuning in to get their fix of Italian football might have noticed that every single player took to the pitch with a red mark on their face.
At first glance, the mark might appear to be a drop of blood that has gone unnoticed, but that’s not he case. The red marks are deliberate, they are worn every single season by Serie A players, and there’s an important reason behind them.
Why do Serie A players put red marks on their face?
For a number of seasons now, Serie A players have worn red marks on their cheeks in support of a campaign raising awareness of and challenging domestic violence against women. The aim is also to spread awareness of an anti-stalking and anti-abuse support hotline.
The name of the campaign is Un Rosso Alla Violenza – a red card to violence – and it is something that Lega Serie A have been in support of for a number of years.
The weekend wherein players, officials, and coaching staff sport the red mark tends to be in November, but the traditional weekend fell during the mid-season break brought on by the men’s 2022 World Cup being played in November and December.
What is the red mark players in Serie A put on their face?
The red mark, used to challenge domestic violence against women and in support of the Un Rosso Alla Violenza campaign, is put on the faces of layers, coaching staff, and matchday officials.
It is done by using red lipstick on the cheek of individuals involved.
Each year, male Serie A players and clubs are encouraged to post photos to their social media channels – often with female partners – wearing the red mark on their cheeks in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue.
Serie A Femminile players raise awareness
Back in November 2022, Serie A Femminile continued as normal as the men’s game paused for their World Cup.
As the teams lined up on the pitch, the fourth official held up the substitutes’ board to display the number 1522 – a phone number available for victims of violence against women to call.
Then, the FIGC – the Italian Football Federation – reported figures that 44.1% of women had, in the previous year, suffered physical or sexual violence, and by November 2022 there had already been 104 cases of femicide in Italy.