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By ESPN Staff

Strike threat to Serie A

Italian football's governing body may have no choice but to postpone the first round of Serie A games because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been signed.

• Aquilani joins Milan from Liverpool

Emergency meetings were held on Thursday in Milan in the hope that the Lega Serie A and the Italian Players' Union (AIC) would reach common ground.

The players have threatened to strike if a new agreement is not signed before Saturday, when the season is due to get under way.

A statement from the federation read: "The Lega Serie A will not accept further mediation and will not sign the collective agreement with the players' association (AIC). At this point it seems more probable that the first round of Serie A games will be postponed.''

The AIC said the Lega Serie A had still not signed the agreement reached with players after intense negotiations last season, when strikes were twice narrowly averted. The Lega Serie A requested changes to the players' proposed agreement.

The AIC were especially unhappy about 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 want players to pay a new solidarity tax that applies to high earners.

"We already stated yesterday our conditions to renew the collective contract,'' Lega Serie A president Maurizio Beretta said. "Our requests are reasonable and balanced. We hope AIC will call off the strike and accept the alterations to the contract proposed by us otherwise they will have to assume all the responsibility.''

An old collective agreement expired at the end of the 2009-10 season and talks for its renewal continued throughout the 2010-11 campaign and this summer.

AIC president Damiano Tommasi insists the players will not back down. "We have said it in previous days,'' he said. "We reiterate it again today. Without the signature of the collective contract the players will not go out on the pitch on Saturday and Sunday.

"Once the contract is signed, the players will be ready to play. Now we will await (FIGC president Giancarlo) Abete's decision.''

Earlier on Thursday, Abete gave the league and the AIC a 24-hour deadline to reach an agreement before moving the first round of Serie A games to a later date.

"Either an agreement is reached by tomorrow or we will postpone the first round of games,'' Abete said. "I have the power to move the first round of Serie A games.''


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