Thursday August 25 2011
Serie A strike is still on

The Serie A players' strike still seems to be going ahead this weekend, as the clubs stand firm in refusing to sign the collective bargaining contract.

The Players' Association (AIC) has warned it will not play the opening weekend of the season unless the clubs sign the contract.

On Wednesday 18 of the 20 Lega clubs voted against accepting the deal. Today the FIGC and CONI are trying to act as mediators, offering a €20m fund to resolve the issue of a ‘solidarity' payment for unemployed players.

“We confirm that without the signature, the players will not step on to the field on Saturday and Sunday,” declared AIC President Damiano Tommasi.

“Just one minute after pen is put to paper, we are ready to play. We await developments, but what happened over the last couple of days is glaringly obvious. Someone didn't want this weekend to be played.”

“If there is someone who wants to stop the campaign, then that is the Lega,” added AIC Vice-President Leo Grosso. “They have to take responsibility.”

FIGC President Giancarlo Abete is trying to mediate today and stated he would call off Week 1 if a deal was not struck “before tomorrow.”

It does seem as if the Lega, the collective name for the union of Serie A clubs, is putting up a brick wall in negotiations.

“Our position will not change. The Lega already dictated its conditions yesterday. We wait for the AIC to call off the strike or they will shoulder the responsibility,” said Lega President Maurizio Beretta.

“We negotiated for months and there is no room to talk things over today, because that would mean changing some very clear issues. Either the AIC signs that they will pay the solidarity fee or nothing will happen.”

The AIC version of the contract has been in place since the end of May and up until now the main sticking point had been ensuring all players, even those in contract disputes, could train with the full squad.

However, over the last 24 hours the issue of the solidarity fee for unemployed players has become a big problem. Clubs want the players to pay all of it, whereas the AIC would like sides to contribute.

Even the Federation's offer of a €20m slush fund to help this issue has not impressed the Lega.

The CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) released a statement this afternoon “openly condemning the exasperated language used in this debate, which has become incomprehensible and unsustainable.”

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