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Serie A Captains Threaten Strike

The start of the Serie A season is being threatened after the captains of all 20 first division sides signed an open letter demanding that a dispute over players’ rights be solved before the start of the season.

Last week, Italian Players Union president Damiano Tommasi warned that the new agreement had to be signed before August 27, when the league is due to get under way.

“It is difficult for the players not to go out and play, but our rights have to be put on paper and it has nothing to do with money” said Tommasi. “The players are very united over this issue and I have been to 90% of the training camps to talk to the players. The Championship will start when the contract has been signed”

The old collective agreement expired at the end of the 2009-10 season and talks for its renewal dragged on for the whole of last season, when strikes were twice narrowly averted.

Serie A president Maurizio Beretta responded Sunday to the players comments saying:

“The Serie A players would like to inform the public of the worrying situation concerning the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement,” said the letter. “The previous agreement which was certified by the Italian federation in December 2010, was ignored by the clubs, which was an unacceptable decision. As a result, the period of de-regulation continues to go on. The current situation threatens the players’ rights. Italy is today the major only football nation without contractual rules for the players and it is time to solve this situation. We reiterate that it will not be possible to start a new championship without the signing of the agreement.”

Do you think that the start of the 2011-12 season will be delayed by a players strike?