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Italian soccer strike about to end

  • AP, Friday, September 2, 2011 5:21 PM

Damiano Tommasi, president of the Italian soccer players union (AIC), says a new collective bargaining agreement could be reached to allow the Italian league season to finally start.

Last weekend's start to the Serie A season was postponed when players and club officials failed to reach an agreement. The stumbling block: clubs want to bar unwanted players from training with their first teams; players want to have the right to train with their clubs even if they have been released.

The Italian soccer federation, which has been mediating between the players and the clubs, also released a statement claiming an agreement was close. According to Italian news agency Ansa, an agreement could be reached on Saturday.

The strike brought a sharp rebuke from FIFA President Sepp Blatter. "Professional football needs respect," he said. "One shouldn't arrive at a situation in which a season cannot begin. It's a question of respect for the fans who follow football all over the world."

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