x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The players have it easy compared to coaches

The contractual arrangements of Serie A players are becoming so complicated that there comes a point when even referring to the club as their employer is moot.

The Serie A season starts with match day Two, the first round of fixtures rescheduled due to the players' strike which has been called off with a temporary deal agreed between the union and clubs.

There are still outstanding issues, notably over whether club employers have the right to exclude senior professionals from first-team training if they are in contractual dispute with those players. On this, there is sympathy with both sides of the argument.

A coach may not want an unhappy, even disruptive, player at training, especially if he thinks the player will be leaving. But every footballer would like to believe he is in or out of the coach's plans purely for footballing reasons, not because he and his agents might be quarrelling with the club's executives.

The trouble is, the contractual arrangements of Serie A players are becoming so complicated that there comes a point when even referring to the club as their employer is moot. At Palermo, a number of South Americans are part-owned by institutions or by their former clubs, which is infuriating for the club's impulsive president, Maurizio Zamparini, when it affects his profit margins.

This week, he accused stakeholders in the €43 million (Dh227.9m) transfer of Javier Pastore to Paris Saint-Germain of "extortion".

Zamparini had also just dismissed Stefano Pioli, replacing him with Devis Mangia, the 20th change of coach in Zamparini's nine years as president. Short-term gigs come with the territory for Italian managers, but none has ever threatened a coaches' strike.