The opening weekend in Serie A looks set to fall victim to a strike after club presidents on Thursday rejected a proposal from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) over their dispute with players.
Players' union the AIC and clubs' union the LEGA have fallen out over a new collective bargaining agreement after the last contract expired at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Although a strike has yet to be officially called, AIC president Damiano Tommasi doubted that top-flight action would take place.
"We have said it before and we will repeat it today - without a signed collective agreement, the players will not appear on the pitch on Saturday and Sunday," he said.
Earlier Thursday, LEGA president Maurizio Beretta told a press conference: "Yesterday (Wednesday) we already gave our precise conditions for the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement."
FIGC president Giancarlo Abete had proposed the creation of a 20 million euros ($28.7m) fund to meet any shortfalls in the 'solidarity tax' for the 2011-2013 period, which is partly the source of the conflict.
Players and club presidents disagree on two points, principally concerning the payment of this tax.
The club owners want the players to pay the tax themselves, but while the players agree in principle, they do not want to be the only people in Italy to pay it and are asking for a new law to be created concerning the tax.
The players also say that players in the middle of contract disputes must not be made to train apart from the main squad and are opposed to plans to cancel the final years of the contracts of players embroiled in such disputes.
The AIC has not yet announced a strike but on Thursday they expressed regret that the situation had "reached an impasse".
The 2011-12 Serie A season is due to begin on Saturday.
If the strike goes ahead, it will be the second European league disrupted by industrial action this season after players in Spain's top two divisions went on strike last weekend.