Friday August 26 2011
Week 1 called off – strike goes ahead

The new Serie A season will not kick off this weekend after last minute talks to avert strike action failed.

In an ongoing dispute between the Players' Association (AIC) and the Lega over a collective bargaining agreement, no resolution was reached.

A strike has been on the cards since Wednesday and, after three days of fruitless negotiations, Week 1 of the new top-flight campaign has been called off.

"We tried right up until the end, but all the attempts were in vain," stated AIC President Damiano Tommasi.

"The players are disappointed as they can't take to the field. But the Lega has been after this for 18 months."

The dispute revolves around two key points in the collective contract that all players sign up to.

The first is regarding the wording in the contract that gives Coaches the power to freeze out players from training, with the first team squad, if they are deemed as surplus to requirements.

The second problem is to do with a new solidarity tax that clubs want high earning players to contribute to.

Yesterday the Italian Football Federation offered to hand over €20m to help with the issue of the solidarity payment.

And this morning Tommasi offered to sign a temporary contract until June 2012, with the two key points omitted, in order for the season to start.

Neither step seemed to make any difference in the attempts to find a resolution.

"It is not clear why we should sign an agreement modelled on the bridge of the original dispute," Lega chief Maurizio Beretta stated.

The campaign is now set to begin in Week 2 on September 10, after the international break, but that is by no means certain.

"The possibility of a longer strike is a problem to be resolved," stated FIGC chief Giancarlo Abete. "There is that risk when thinking about future games."

Tommasi added: "I get the impression that if a solution is not found soon then it won't take 15 days to resolve, the gap in between Week 1 and 2, but months."

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