Negotiations being held between players and club bosses in Italy's Serie A in a bid to avoid a strike will resume early next week after the parties failed to reach agreement on Saturday.
The Italian Players' Association (AIC) recently announced their intention to strike on the weekend of 25-26 September if clubs fail to reform the way players in the final year of their contracts are treated. A series of meetings were held last week, after which representatives from both sides expressed optimism at reaching a deal before Saturday.
However, after Saturday's meeting there appeared to be little progress on resolving two key issues for the AIC. The AIC want clubs to allow players who are to be sold on to continue training with the team, and not apart. They have also called for the clubs to drop plans to force players who are in their final year of contract and refusing to move to another club to buy out their contracts for 50 percent of their value.
Asked after Saturday's meeting if the strike would go ahead, AIC President Sergio Campana was coy. "I don't know, you will have to ask the players that. It's the players who are at the root of this protest," he said.
Italian league President Maurizio Beretta, meanwhile, said the onus was on the players to make concessions. "The ball's not in our court," he said. "All I can say is that we worked all day on Friday (to find a solution), and that discussions were held in a composed manner."
The dispute stems from the expiry earlier this summer of a collective contract between the AIC and league bosses guaranteeing players' rights. Talks on renewing that deal failed, leading to the current impasse.