Sardinia differs from mainland Italy in so many ways, their food, holidays and language are all dramatically different to those of their fellow countrymen. So much so that the character of Groundskeeper Willy in the Italian version of the Simpsons speaks in Sardinian. Despite technically being Italians, Sardinians are proud. Proud of their flag, their seemingly endless coastline and, more importantly, proud of their football.

The most successful of their teams is to be found on the north of the island in a city of only 127,000 residents, Sassari. For two decades the women’s team Sassari Torres Femminile dominated the Italian top flight. After winning their first Scudetto in 1993-94 they went from strength to strength, lifting two Scudetti, four Coppas Italia and two Italian Super Cups between 1999 and 2005, and going on a run of 38 consecutive victories. Torres were the first Italian women’s side to play in Europe and after a domestic treble in 2009-10 they claimed their fourth Scudetto in 2013.

But after being subsumed into the men’s club at Sassari in an attempt to stave off financial ruin, they were refused their licence to compete in the women’s Serie A. The men were also relegated after being charged with sporting fraud linked to the whole fiasco.

Femminile were re-founded under the name ASD FC Sassari Torres Femminile, and had to begin again at the bottom of the footballing ladder. By 2019-20 they had returned to Serie C, despite having to play home games in the Stadio Peppino Sau in neighbouring Usini.

Sassari Torres Femminile celebrate after a dominant 6-1 win over Imolese

Prematch warm-up before Sassari Torres Femminile take to the pitch against Imolese 

Training ground chats between coach Mario Desole and his squad

A player laces up her boots before the big match against Imolese 

Spectators and their four-legged friends watch on as Sassari Torres Femminile put six past the Imolese goalkeeper 

Right back and local player Elisa Farris plays a pass through the Imolese back line