Serie A president slams strike threat
Serie A president Maurizio Beretta has reacted angrily 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.
The likes of Inter Milan's Javier Zanetti and AC Milan's Gennaro Gattuso maintained that the league would not start without the agreement being signed, throwing doubt over the opening weekend on Aug 27.
"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 (FIGC) 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."
Italian Players Union (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi warned last week that the new agreement had to be signed before Aug. 27, when the league is due to get under way.
But Beretta told the ANSA news agency on Sunday: "I'm surprised. We will not sign under these conditions and I don't see why we should submit to a threat from Tommasi, something we didn't accept with (predecessor) Sergio Campana.
"The strike threat by the players is a serious and insensitive act, especially considering the general situation in the country. We mustn't forget that we are talking about 800 players whose average wage is over one million euros per year."