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Strike negotiations in early phase: Italian football chief

SoccerNews in Serie A 13 Sep 2010

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Italian Football League president Maurizio Beretta insisted negotiations to avoid a player strike in two weeks are in their early stages following a meeting between the interested parties on Monday.

Last week the Italian Players’ Association (AIC) announced the strike, scheduled for the weekend of September 25-26, after failing to come to an agreement with clubs on a contract concerning players’ rights.

And following a first round of talks, Beretta said there were some positive signs.

“Today we began the phase of acknowledgement, we’re starting to look more closely at the various points and that’s a positive element,” he told reporters.

“From here to finding a positive solution there’s lot’s to do, we’re just started.”

Before the meeting began, Italian Football Federation (Figc) president Giancarlo Abete had claimed that an agreement to avoid the strike was close.

“An agreement will be found and I believe, in the last few hours, there have been positive signs to call off the strike and allow play to go ahead,” he said.

“We hope it will be a positive meeting, we’re looking for a maximum taking of responsability and most of all shared availability.”

Abete disagreed that the call to strike was an overblown response.

“I believe it was the right time to talk about this, the important thing is to work to end the strike and to ensure play goes on as normal,” he added.

A collective contract between the AIC and league bosses guaranteeing players’ rights expired during the summer, however talks on renewing that deal failed, leading to the current impasse.

Clubs now want the power to insist that players who are in the final year of their contracts must accept a transfer to another, equally competitive club.

If the player disagrees, he must buy out the final year of his contract at 50 percent of its worth.

Players’ boss Sergio Campana, however, defended the association’s actions.

“We’re the only union which doesn’t ask for money, our players have put themselves at the service of everyone to guarantee that is safeguarded,” he said.

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