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Real escape with hope of progress

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By ESPN Staff

French strike called off after agreement is reached

PARIS, October 17 (Ligue) - Industrial action by players, coaches and referees in France's top two leagues has been averted after concessions were made by the warring factions in the dispute.

The national footballers' union (UNFP), concerned about plans to give presidents a majority position in the French league's administrative council, had called for clubs to stage a strike between October 24 and 26.

But following a number of threats and counter-threats over the last few weeks, the two parties came to an agreement late on Thursday.

The presidents will not be given the majority position they wanted but will hold sway over economic aspects in the council.

"The strike is over," said UNFP co-president Philippe Piat.

"We have reached an agreement so that everyone can leave this affair in the best possible conditions."

Club presidents' chief Jean-Pierre Louvel, who is also president of Ligue 1 side Le Havre, said: "The presidents have a complete hold on economic aspects and they can be represented when they can't sit on the council, which wasn't the case before.

"We have clearly made concessions, like not having 14 of the 25 members, as we wanted.

"But I am happy about this result and the dialogue of everyone involved."

St Etienne president Bernard Caiazzo added: "Intelligence has prevailed. Nobody really wanted this strike."

These new terms will be put to the league at an extraordinary general meeting on November 14, and they will then have to be ratified by the French Football Federation.

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