Perhaps the NBA and its players could learn a thing or two from the Spanish soccer league. The strike that began in Spain on Aug. 19 was ended less than a week later as the players from the nation’s top two divisions came to an agreement with the league on Aug. 25. The season will now kick off on Aug. 26, a week later than originally scheduled.

An agreement was reached after the league guaranteed $72 million in payments that were owed in back wages to about 200 players. The AFE (Association of Spanish Football Players) said they’d go back to work after the league agreed that players could terminate their contracts with their clubs if they went three months without getting paid. This will enable them to leave their clubs and find another one that actually pays its players.

But that might be a hard thing to do is Spain as about half of the country’s teams are in financial trouble. Luis Rubiales, head of the AFE, said the players were happy with the deal and the first strike in Spanish soccer since 1984 is officially over. The First-Division games that were missed during the opening weekend will be made up on Jan 22, 2012 and the games that were scheduled for that weekend will be pushed back to May 2. , the league said. The Second-division games that were postponed are set to take place this Oct. 26.

But while Spanish soccer fans are rejoicing, Italian supporters could be facing a similar scenario as it looks like Italy’s Serie A league is set to walk out before its season gets underway on Aug. 27. The players and league don’t have a bargaining agreement signed and players are threatening to strike if there isn’t one in place before the opening day.

The league and AIC (Italian Players’ Union) held emergency meetings on Aug. 25, but they couldn’t come to an agreement. There’s actually a collective bargaining agreement in place, but the players aren’t in any rush to sign it and the league wants to make changes to it. The AIC threatened to strike a couple of times last year too, but nothing aver came of it.

The main stumbling block is the treatment of players in the last year of their contracts. Italian teams want to force them to accept transfers to other teams as long as the player is paid the same salary or more. Also, team managers have been forcing unwanted players to train on their own, away from their teammates and the players aren’t too happy about this. It was also reported that the teams want to introduce a new solidarity tax which is aimed at big-money players.

Serie A boss Maurizio Beretta said the league has presented all of its requests and it’s up to the AIC to accept them and call off the strike. The old agreement ran out after the 2009-10 season and the two sides carried on last year without a new one in place. But Damiano Tommasi, president of the AIC, said the players aren’t going to back down like they did last year. He was adamant that the games won’t be played unless there’s a signed agreement in place.


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