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Fila to Return to Italian Football After 22 Years

Fila, one of the most iconic sportswear brands of the 90s, are back in the game as the new technical sponsors of Serie C side, Vicenza. This marks their first partnership with an Italian club since their deal with Fiorentina expired at the end of the 99-00 season.

Vicenza announce Fila Deal

Vicenza's kits had been manufactured by fellow Italian brand, Lotto, since the 18-19 season, with the most notable moment of that union coming earlier this year with the release of a controversial anniversary jersey, which led to trouble between the fans and club owner, Renzo Rosso.

Vicenza's 21-22 home, away and special kits by Lotto.

Fila will take over from Lotto starting from the 22-23 season, although the duration of the contract is unknown as of yet. What we do know is that 22 years have passed since Fila shirts last graced a professional game of football in their home country. The Nintendo-sponsored jerseys worn by Gabriel Batistuta for Fiorentina between 1997 and 2000 feature in many people's lists of best shirts of all time and are still very much sought after today.

Fila's History in Football

The popularity that Fila Fiorentina shirts have gained over the years may have skewed the perception of Fila's prominence in football, particularly in Italian football. In reality, they provided kits to a relatively small number of clubs around the world, and only made their first kits in 1997. Remarkably, Fiorentina were the only team ever to be sponsored by Fila in Italy's professional divisions, until now.

Vicenza are Fila's second ever Italian club, their first was Fiorentina.

Fila's most recent shirts for Jeju United and Maccabi Tel Aviv

Other clubs that were kitted out by the Italian brand in their late 90s and early 00s heyday include West Ham, Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt, as well as a smattering of other small to medium-sized clubs across Europe. They secured deals with some big South American clubs around the same time, such as Deportivo Cali, Allianza Lima and Botafogo, but their presence in football decreased steadily as the years went on and in the last few years they have been almost completely absent from the game. Before the Vicenza announcement, they had only been supplying kits to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel and Korean sides Jeju United and Gangwon FC.

Thanks to their cult status in sportswear, the great shirts they produced for West Ham and Fiorentina in particular, and of course the nostalgia factor, Fila's deal with Vicenza has been greeted with excitement by football shirt fans. Could this, only their second ever deal with an Italian club, be the catalyst for their regrowth within the sport? Will they try to increase their presence in Italian football going forward? And most importantly, how will the shirts look?

Are you glad to see Fila back in Italian football? Let us know what you think in the comments.