MILAN - Italy's football strike ended on
Monday when Serie A and the Italian Players' Union (AIC) buried
their differences and signed a collective contract, allowing the
season to start on Friday.
"A new collective contract, valid until the end of June
2012, has been signed today," the Italian football federation
(FIGC) said in a statement.
"The signing followed a meeting in which the legal
representatives of the two parties ironed out the final
The FIGC said the contract was signed in the presence of its
president Giancarlo Abete, Serie A President Maurizio Beretta
and AIC President Damiano Tommasi.
The announcement means that Serie A can start on Friday with
the meeting of defending champions AC Milan and Lazio, the first
round of matches on August 27 and 28 having been called off.
The announcement had been widely expected after the League
said last Thursday it was prepared to renegotiate several terms
of the contract.
The previous agreement expired at the end of the 2009/10
season and negotiations for its renewal dragged on for the whole
of last season.
The AIC said it believed an agreement had been reached in
December, when a strike was called off at the last moment, but
the Lega Serie A did not sign.
"It's the agreement we reached in December and it's
disappointing that the signature has arrived so late, but it was
important to have the agreement signed before we played," said
AIC President, former Italy international Damiano Tommasi.
"We will play from Friday and I think the players will be
given credit for their good sense in this negotiation.
"It [the agreement] is a starting point and I hope it will
be a good sign for the next one."
Serie A President Maurizio Beretta said: "It's a profoundly
innovative agreement and it was worth our hardline stance
because the clubs have achieved much of what they wanted."
The sticking point had been article seven which concerns
players who are no longer wanted by their clubs.
The AIC had demanded that the players be allowed to train
with the first team until their contracts expired while the
clubs wanted the coaching staff to have the power to decide.
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