Rome: Italy's Serie A, which is due to get under way this weekend, was facing a strike threat on Wednesday after players and club bosses failed to agree over a new collective bargaining deal.
If the strike goes ahead, it will be the second European league disrupted by industrial action after players in Spain's top two divisions went on strike last week, with a repeat of their stoppage planned for this weekend.
"The Serie A clubs voted 18 to two against an agreement with the AIC (the players' union)," said , the president of LEGA (union of Serie A clubs).
The two sides are locked over a new collective bargaining agreement after the last contract expired at the end of the 2010-11 season.
"For the moment, the conditions for us to play do not exist," said AIC president Damiano Tommasi.
"I am horrified that we can't play this weekend, but we cannot start the new season without a collective agreement."
There are two barriers to a new deal.
Article 7 wants a change to training arrangements, with players' representatives insisting that players in the middle of contract disputes must not be forced to train separately from the main squad.
Article 4, meanwhile, concerns the 'solidarity tax' that players are required to pay.
Club bosses were defiant in the face of a possible shutdown.
"Let them strike. We cannot continue with a gun pointed at our heads," said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
"We’re not trying to wage war on anyone. It’s just a cultural problem, as the collective bargaining contract is out-dated by 30 years. There’s no point renewing it when we have to revamp it."