Serie A players threaten to strike

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Top-flight football in Italy is under a dark cloud with players again threatening to go on strike following a breakdown in negotiations regarding a new collective bargaining agreement.

Talks between the Lega A and the players' union (Aic) have been unsuccessful and the mediation of Italian football federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete to resolve the situation has proved fruitless.

"The hope of everyone is that the signature of the collective bargaining agreement arrives," said Aic general secretary Gianni Grazioli.

"If this does not happen on November 30, there will be an automatic stop to a round of games as a sign of protest.

"It will not be a strike as such as the round of games will be recovered at a later date and hence the ticket holders, whether at the stadium or the ones watching on TV, will not lose out."

At issue is the collective contract between the association and the league guaranteeing players' rights.

It expired on June 30, but no action has been taken by the league since then.

The Aic called off a strike back in September after the two sides reached an agreement to enter into negotiations.

The main area of disagreement centres on what the players perceive as a lack of protection when clubs try to force them into a transfer when they enter the final year of their contracts.

Earlier this week, Abete advised both parties to leave out sticky points in the hope of reaching an understanding.

However, Serie A president Maurizio Beretta said Abete's proposal was "unacceptable" as all issues should be discussed.

The players' union expressed their disappointment today in a statement which read: "The Serie A players have taken into consideration the approach shown by the Lega, who have turned down the proposal of FIGC president Giancarlo Abete, which is also shared by the Aic, to limit to just six points the negotiations of the Collective Agreement, with the exclusion of two other points (players out of squad and forced transfers), which from the start were not accepted by Aic.

"Through their representatives, they have therefore announced the decision to not go out on the pitch in one of the next round of games as a sign of protest.

"The Aic will wait until November 30 to announce the date of strike action."

The players' association had threatened to strike in recent years.

However, Serie A football has not been halted since a players' strike that started on March 17, 1996, to protest against several issues related to the Bosman ruling.