MILAN - This weekend's Serie A players'
strike has been cancelled after a deal was reached with the
league over a new collective contract, the Italian footballers'
union said on Thursday.
"The protest is cancelled," read a statement.
Tuesday's seven-hour meeting at the football federation
headquarters in Rome was followed by more lengthy talks on
Thursday and an agreement was finally found.
The union was in dispute with Serie A over parts of a new
collective contract which guarantees basic players' rights,
namely club plans to force unwanted footballers to train away
from the first team or accept a transfer.
Thursday's deal means all players with first-team contracts
must be allowed to train with the main squad while rules to
avoid discrimination have been agreed for unwanted footballers
who are put up for sale.
The details will be worked out during the season.
"The union thanks the players who showed... a high sense of
responsibility to defend their professional dignity and the
fundamental rights of all workers," union president Sergio
Three cases this season and one last term had brought the
issue into focus.
Goran Pandev was dropped by Lazio last season and forced to
train with the youth team after asking for a move. His case went
to an arbitration hearing which ruled in his favour and he was
allowed to join Inter Milan on a free transfer in January.
This term, Italy duo Antonio Cassano and Federico Marchetti
have been banished by Sampdoria and Cagliari respectively after
disagreements with their club owners.
Both players are awaiting their full arbitration hearings
with Italy forward Cassano's due to take place on Friday,
although a decision on whether Samp's action is lawful and
whether he is a now free agent may take some time.
Several clubs have been linked in the media with the
striker, who had appeared to have outgrown his bad-boy image
before verbally abusing Samp president Riccardo Garrone.
Juventus pair Fabio Grosso and Hasan Salihamidzic were also
told in the close season they were no longer required and after
failing to agree transfers away, they were dropped from the
first team only for injuries to allow them back in.
A first strike was called by the union in September but was
postponed to allow more talks. However, as negotiations dragged
on without a deal, the union threatened new industrial action
for this weekend's matches.
Fans, media and some players criticised the union for daring
to tell its millionaire members to strike when Italy is
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