NEWS
Saturday August 27 2011
Blame game in Serie A strike

The players are on strike for the opening weekend of the Serie A season and the finger of blame is pointed in different directions.

The Players' Association (AIC) declared a strike for Week 1 after the union of 20 top flight clubs (Lega) refused to sign a collective bargaining contract.

“The responsibility lies with Lega President Maurizio Beretta,” blasted Cagliari owner Massimo Cellino.

“He treated the situation superficially. I no longer recognise Beretta as our President and asked him to put in writing what he said to us in the Lega meeting.

“If he continues to control the Lega this way, then he may as well go home. He proved himself incompetent.”

Cagliari and Siena were the only two out of 20 clubs to vote in favour of signing the collective bargaining contract on Thursday.

Last-ditch talks failed to reach an agreement, even when the AIC and the Federation offered a temporary deal to see them through to July.

“This strike is a defeat for everyone, especially the AIC,” said Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi.

“Every time a problem emerges, they threaten to go on strike, so this blackmail is unacceptable. They can defend their rights like all workers, but must also not forget they are privileged.”

The two sticking points are the solidarity contribution for unemployed players, which the clubs do not want to pay, and the rule barring clubs from freezing players out of training with the full squad during a contract dispute.

“At Parma there were some players who were not in our plans, so we made them train at Collecchio while the others were at the pre-season camp in Levico. That doesn't mean we abandoned them, as they had a fitness coach and full medical staff. I don't find anything wrong with that.”

The AIC argues forcing players to train separately from the squad is damaging their professional dignity and can be used as a ‘blackmail' tool during contract negotiations.

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