ROME - The start of the Serie A season
this weekend was postponed on Friday after the Italian Players'
Union (AIC) called a strike following a failure to reach
agreement with clubs over a new deal over players' rights.
The Lega Serie A, representing Italy's 20 top-flight clubs,
refused to agree to a last-minute proposal from the AIC to sign
a one-season deal to avert strike action, prompting the
postponement of Saturday and Sunday's fixtures.
"The players' union takes note of the negative response from
the Lega of our latest proposal and thereby confirms the
intention of not entering the field for the first match of the
season," said an AIC statement.
AIC President Damiano Tommasi had earlier on Friday proposed
signing a temporary contract along existing lines until June 30
next year while negotiations continued, but clubs' president
Maurizio Beretta rejected the last-minute bid.
"Our assembly was clear," Beretta told Italian news service,
Ansa, referring to Wednesday's 18-2 vote against signing the
AIC's original contract proposal.
"We will only sign an
agreement if it contains the two points under discussion - the
solidarity contribution and that of training outside the
The two disputed points are over the interpretation of the
so-called article seven concerning players who are no longer
wanted by their coaches, and who should pay a new austerity tax
introduced by the government.
AIC wants all players to be allowed to train with the squad
until they reach the end of their contracts while the clubs want
autonomy for the coaches.
The move comes after some clubs had
separated players from first-team squads following their refusal
to sign new deals or transfers in the last year of their
The clubs want any new agreement to include a clause
stipulating that the players must pay the government's recently
introduced solidarity tax - on wages over 90,000 euros per year
- rather than the clubs.
Italy's non-action on the first weekend follows the
postponement of games in Spain last weekend after another
dispute between players and clubs though a deal was struck on
Thursday ending that dispute.
WEEKS OF DEADLOCK
Without compromise following weeks of deadlock, there is now
a possibility that more Serie A fixtures could be postponed.
"I have the distinct impression that 15 days will not be
enough. We may need months," said Tommasi. "The Lega is clearly
split. They've been saying no for a year and a half. I've even
had reproaches from players following this morning's offer.
"The players are disappointed not to be playing but it's not
down to a question of finance or because of a whim. For
professionals it's just right to begin a season with a signed
Rocco Crimi, Italy's Deputy Minister for Sport, described
the strike as a 'defeat' for all.
"For Italians the postponement of the first weekend's
fixtures represents the most unusual strike in the country's
history," he said.
"We need to leave aside personality
confrontations and language that is objectively unacceptable,
return to the table and let common sense prevail. The stoppage
because of the strike is a defeat for everybody."
Worryingly, Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President
Giancarlo Abete, who had proposed setting up a special fund in
an attempt to broker a deal on Thursday, said there was a
"bitterness" in negotiations.
"There is still the risk for other matches [to be
postponed]," he told reporters. "There were all the conditions
in place for this not to occur. It's unbelievable we haven't
reached an agreement."
Beretta immediately came under fire from Cagliari President
Massimo Cellino, who along with Siena had voted to sign the
AIC's original agreement.
"The responsibility is all Beretta's," Cellino told
reporters. "He has shown himself to be an incapable president
and has managed the situation superficially. I no longer
recognise Beretta as my president."
The dispute has rumbled on since the end of the 2009/10
season when a previous agreement expired.
Strikes were twice averted at the last minute last season.
Serie A, with dilapidated stadiums, falling attendances and
match-fixing scandals, already faced a credibility problem and
the strike is the latest blow to the league once considered the
Bayern fans snap up 45,000 tickets to watch Champions League final live at Allianz Arena
When Sir Alex wakes up on Monday morning without team to manage, he will not be putting his feet up
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder announces he will be retiring at the end of the current season
Record goal-scorer signs a one-year contract extension with Europa League winners Chelsea
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010