Serie A was thrown into crisis today when the players in Italy's top flight announced they will go on strike on the weekend of September 25-26.
The declaration was made by AC Milan captain Massimo Oddo on behalf of the Italian Players' Association (AIC), which was reacting to the Lega Calcio's position on collective contract renewal.
The statement read: "The AIC, in complete agreement with all the Serie A clubs, have decided that these teams will not go out on the pitch for the fifth round of games of Serie A on September 25-26 in order to oppose the (Lega Calcio's) request for the introduction of a new contractual regime."
Oddo said the decision had been considered for some time.
“This decision comes from way back after we did not receive any response to our attempts to come to an agreement with the Lega,” he said.
The dispute surrounds a collective contract which expired on June 30 but no action has been taken by the Lega Calcio since.
The main area of disagreement surrounds what the players perceive as a lack of protection when clubs try to force them into a transfer when they enter the final year of their contracts.
Another point which concerned the players was the lack of a minimum financial agreement.
“We, players, are fed up of being treated like objects and not human beings,” said Oddo.
“We are talking about human rights, such as being denied the right to do other activities or work rights.”
A meeting will take place on Monday between Italy’s football federation president Giancarlo Abete and his Lega A and AIC counterparts to discuss the way forward.
“The strike is likely to take place regardless of the decision that could come out of Monday’s meeting,” added Oddo.