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Serie A Players Set September 25-26 Strike Date To Protest New Transfer Rules

Proposed changes codifying obligatory transfers will be protested on the date of Inter Milan, Roma's first meeting.

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Serie A Players Set September 25-26 Strike Date To Protest New Transfer Rules

The union representing soccer players in Italy's Serie A has called a strike for September 25-26, it was announced today.  The action is in response to a proposed rule changes by clubs in the top division that would introduce a collective agreement changing how contracts and transfers are handled.

Such changes would oblige players to accept transfers to similarly competitive clubs where wages would not be reduced. Under the current system, in order to be transferred a player must agree to new terms with his acquiring club.

Such a rule would have forced-through the summer transfer of Fabio Grosso, the Juventus defender whose club had arranged a move to Milan only to have the player supper the deal. Under the proposed rule, Grosso would have been obliged to move to Milan, with Juventus having finished below the Rossoneri in last season's Serie A.

Milan's Massimo Oddo, in reading a statement on behalf of the Italian Footballers Association, said:

"Serie A teams will not play. The AIC, in perfect agreement with clubs, have decided the teams will not play on September 25-26 because we are against the requests to introduce new contract regimes."

That week, the top two finishers in last season's Serie A - Internazionale and Roma - were scheduled to play.

It's a play straight out of the playbook of American sports, and in that way, a clever one. The Serie A owners are banding together to try and push these new rules on their players. For a sporting culture defined by the model of club independence, where little beyond the need to band into leagues and sell collective television deals has unified club motives, this is a huge step: Acting as a collective in a labor dispute.

Thus, you can see why the players aren't taking this lying down. In response to collective action, they're responding with their own group tactics, presumably sacrificing a week's wages in protest.

Undoubtedly, there will be more developments - if not soon, then on September 25.

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