The players' representatives of all 20 Serie A clubs have announced they will go on strike unless a settlement is reached regarding player contracts.
Club captains, including Francesco Totti, Gennaro Gattuso, Javier Zanetti and Alessandro del Piero, are concerned over the Serie A chiefs' refusal to sign Article Seven of the proposed collective contract.
The article in question relates to the protection of players omitted from their club's squads ahead of the coming campaign, due to start on August 27, and the league's resistance to sign has been met with a stark warning from the Italian Professional Footballers Association.
AIC president Damiano Tommasi was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport: "It is difficult for the players not to go out and play, but our rights have to be on paper and it has nothing to do with money.
"Having been to 90% of the players' training camps to talk to them, they are very united on this issue.
"The championship will only start when the contract has been signed.''
In an open letter posted on www.gazzetta.it, all 20 captains and vice-captains of the Serie A clubs implored the league to resolve the dispute or face strike action.
The letter read: "At the start of the new football season, the players of Serie A wish to inform the general public of the unacceptable situation that exists with regards to the renewal of the players' collective contract.
"The agreements reached in December 2010 by the AIC delegation and that of Serie A club owners, and certified by the FIGC (Italian Football Association), have been completely ignored by the clubs' general assembly.
"As a result, an unacceptable lack of regulation still persists. This damages safeguards of a financial nature and is jeopardising our contracts.
"It seems absurd that Italy is the only developed footballing country that does not have precise contractual regulations for all its registered players.
"Unless the collective agreement is signed, it will not be possible to start the championship.
"The league must sign the contract or the championship will not start on August 27.''
Pietro Lo Monaco, director of Serie A club Catania, whose players Marco Biagianti and Ciro Capuano signed the letter, is hopeful a strike can be avoided.
" believe the problems concerning player contracts are merely down to a breakdown in communication,'' he was quoted as saying by Gazzetta.
"Everything will be sorted out, and on August 27 the championship will start normally.
"I am certain that at the next meeting of the clubs we will reach an agreement and settle the problem.''