Italian clubs propose temporary Serie A contract

AP

MILAN (AP) — Italian clubs proposed a temporary collective contract Thursday to end a Serie A strike.

The players strike postponed the scheduled start of the Serie A last weekend, and both sides want to reach an agreement before the second round begins on Sept. 9.

"We're proposing a collective contract that would run until June 30, 2012," Serie A president Maurizio Beretta said during a league assembly.

Beretta added that the proposal would stipulate that the sides reach a deal over the next 30 days on the last remaining conflict — a clause concerning the rights of players to train with the first team.

Clubs want the clause to state they can force unwanted players to train away from the first team or accept a transfer.

Changes to the government's austerity package in recent days appear to have eliminated the other major conflict, a new solidarity tax that would have applied to high-wage earners like top-division soccer players.

Players association president Damiano Tommasi last week proposed a similar one-year solution in a last-minute effort to avoid the strike, but the clubs rejected the temporary solution.

Tommasi will likely respond Friday, although initial reports said the players association now wants a three-year contract.

The conflict between the players and the league has been ongoing since the last collective contract expired in June 2010.

The players set two strike dates during the first half of last season, both of which were avoided with last-minute verbal agreements.

"We absolutely need to find a solution, with good reciprocal will," AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said.

If a resolution is found, Serie A will open with defending champion Milan vs. Lazio on Sept. 9, followed by Cesena vs. Napoli a day later and eight more matches on Sept. 11.

Both sides also want to get matches in before the Champions League group phase begins Sept. 13-14 with Milan opening at defending champion Barcelona, Inter Milan hosting Turkish club Trabzonspor and Napoli visiting Manchester City.

The strike already means Italy's international players will face the Faeroe Islands and Slovenia in 2012 European Championship qualifiers Friday and Tuesday without any league matches in preparation.

If the strike lasts only a round or two, missed matches will likely be made up at a later date.

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