Serie A fans have had to endure a long two weeks for the international break, but they could be looking at another long break at the end of the month that could deprive fans of the most anticipated matches so far this season.
Earlier today, the Italian Professional Players’ Association announced that, due to the failure to sign a collective-bargaining agreement, all Serie A players will go on strike the weekend of September 25-26. That weekend has two high profile and anticipated matches, as defending champion Inter is set to visit scudetto contender AS Roma, while AC Milan hosts dark horse contender Genoa.
At issue is a proposal by the owners to limit a player’s ability to refuse a transfer. The proposal states that a player with more than a year on his contract cannot refuse a transfer if he is being transferred to “an equally competitive club” that guarantees the same financial conditions. An example would be this offseason’s potential transfer of Fabio Grosso to AC Milan, when he refused to leave Juventus. Also, the players are allegedly upset with another proposal that would force players to be treated by team-appointed physicians instead of their own doctors.
FIGC President Giancarlo Abete has called for a meeting Monday with himself, AIC representatives and Serie A leadership. But even if some agreement is reached, the strike will likely continue according to AIC representative (and Milan fullback) Massimo Oddo: “The players are fed up with being treated like objects and not like people. We are dealing with human rights here.”
This is the first players’ strike since the 1995 Bosman ruling over player transfers. While strikes have been threatened in the past, this time it looks like the strike will definitely happen. I am sure we have not heard all sides of the debate, but the timing on this announcement could not be worse. Italy’s season is already behind that of England, Germany, and France and now faces another break four matches into the season. The next international break is two weeks after the strike, so by mid-October Serie A fans would have only seen their favorite club play five Serie A matches.
Ultimately, the fault lies with both sides for not resolving this situation over the summer, and as usual it is the fans who will suffer. But what do you think about the strike?