Early Doors

Sampdoria introduce ‘ball women’ in novel attempt to fight sexism

Early Doors

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Sampdoria unveiled a new initiative this season, as ball boys will be replaced by 'ball women' on the touchline.

Usually the ball boys during an official match are members of the club’s own youth academy, or locals in and around the city.

But, during Saturday night’s 4-2 friendly win over Eintracht Frankfurt, Sampdoria debuted their new group of ball women – adult females whose job is to put the ball back into play quickly.

The photo above shows one of the women in action.

Club president Massimo Ferrero will continue this in the future, as he wants "the club to promote positive messages, fair play, social and sporting sensibility.

"This is a contribution towards a modern sport without prejudice."

Other sports have used women in a similar capacity, although the Madrid Open's experiment with ball girls - who were models - was heavily criticised as they were arguably selected on the basis of looks and not ability.

It could also be argued that using adults in general is a more professional move - there have been incidents at matches where teenage ball-boys fail in their duties, including one where a Swansea teen smothered the ball, provoking Chelsea's Eden Hazard into kicking him.

The move is consistent with Sampdoria's general policy regarding discrimination - they are one of several clubs to have withdrawn their backing for Italian FA presidential candidate Carlo Tavecchio after the 71-year-old referred to African players as "banana eaters."

[ITALY STARS ROW ON 'RACIST' CANDIDATE]

Fiorentina, Sassuolo, Cagliari, Empoli and Cesena have withdrawn their backing for Tavecchio, but Milan and Lazio have retained their support; Juventus and Roma have always favoured former player Demetrio Albertini, who now looks like the favourite for the job.

By Eurosport and Football Italia

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