MILAN - Italian players
reiterated on Monday that they will strike at the weekend
if the League does not sign a new collective agreement while FA
president (FIGC) Giancarlo Abete said the discussion made him
The latest exchanges in the row over players' rights mean
that the League's general assembly on Wednesday is likely to
determine whether the new season starts on Saturday and Sunday
The problem revolves around article seven of the proposed
agreement relating to the protection of players who are omitted
from their club's squads.
The clubs want greater flexibility but players are worried
that they could be forced to train separately or accept a
"With all the problems the country is suffering, I'm a
little ashamed of my citizenship," said Abete on the FIGC
"With the country going through so many problems, this
article does not deserve so much attention."
"A little bit of good sense will allow a clear
interpretation of article seven of the collective agreement," he
"If the contract is not signed because of the interpretation
of article seven, it means something else is at play," he said.
"If there are other motives, they need to be explained."
The Italian Players' Union (AIC) held a meeting in Milan at
the same time and its president Damiano Tommasi reaffirmed that
strike action was on the cards.
"I reiterate our position that if the contract is signed, we
will play on Saturday and Sunday, otherwise we will stay at
home," he told reporters.
"I hope that Abete's interpretation satisfies the League and
convinces them to put a signature on the dotted line."
The union said that the agreement was reached with the
League last year after intense negotiations during which strikes
were twice narrowly averted.
A last-minute deal in December meant all players with
first-team contracts would be allowed to train with the main
squad while rules to avoid discrimination were agreed for
unwanted footballers who are put up for sale.
The AIC said they signed the same month but the League has
been dragging its heels.
Tommasi added that there had never been any question that
players would pay a so-called solidarity contribution"
introduced by the government as part of an austerity package
The measure is a temporary tax on everyone earning over
90,000 euros a month, although last week there had
been reports that the players wanted the clubs to pay on their
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