Coni condemn Serie A strike

26 August 2011 02:00

Italy's highest sporting authority has expressed its "profound disappointment" that the Serie A season will be delayed by a players' strike.

The failure of the Lega Serie A and the Italian Players' Association (AIC) to sign a new collective bargaining agreement has led to the postponement of the opening weekend of games.

A statement from Italy's Olympic Committee read: "The CONI openly condemns the exasperating tones that have characterised the whole issue and expresses its profound disappointment on how the situation has evolved to become incomprehensible and unsustainable."

The declaration of the strike was made by former Roma midfielder Damiano Tommasi, the president of the AIC. In a statement he said: "The Players' Union takes into account the Lega's decision to turn down our last proposal and hence, confirms the intention of not going out on the pitch for the first round of Serie A games."

The players had threatened since the beginning of August not to take the field if their proposed collective bargaining agreement was not signed before the end of this week. The old agreement expired at the end of the 2009/10 campaign and talks for its renewal continued throughout last season and this summer.

Strikes were twice narrowly averted last season and not even the mediation of Italy Football Federation president Giancarlo Abete has helped to resolve the situation. The League specifically requested changes to the players' proposed agreement.

However, the AIC stood firm on issues such as clubs trying to force players to move in the last year of their contracts, and with coaches forcing unwanted players to train away from the first team.

Clubs also wanted players to pay a new solidarity tax that applies to high earners. AIC made a final attempt to reach an agreement by proposing a temporary resolution to last until the end of the 2011-12 campaign.

However, the league chose not to sign, and Lega Serie A president Maurizio Beretta said: "We don't understand why we should sign a temporary agreement, our Assembly has been very clear. We cannot sign a contract when there are two points that are under dispute, that of the solidarity tax and players training away from the first team."

Serie A football has not been halted in this way since a players' strike in March 1996 - a protest against the Bosman ruling among others.

Source: PA

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