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Thursday 25th April 2002

Leading clubs in Italy want their players to agree wage-reductions ahead of next season as the cash crisis in football spreads and a Uefa directive insists on maximum first-team squads of 25.

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani announced on Thursday that the Rossoneri would look to offload a fifth of their squad over the summer, while Lazio vice-president Michele Uva explained his club were researching how to pay their players less.

"We are studying how to keep players on the payroll who don't interest us anymore, but who have contracts. We will pay them a percentage of their salary, although it would all have to be done through unofficial channels," he said.

The scheme would require the cooperation of the players and Milan forward Jose Mari is sceptical.

"It seems the clubs are trying to take this decision on their own, but they would need a gentleman's agreement with the players involved. The way I see it, the clubs must either sell their unwanted players or come to an agreement with them."

AC Milan midfielder Massimo Donati added: "It wouldn't be a good thing to be on the black list, knowing the club doesn't really want you around.

"It's a strange situation. If they don't want me, I would rather they helped me find another team or looked for a better solution."

Players' union president Enrico Campana claimed the plans were probably illegal. "Obviously football is in a difficult economic situation, but I'm not satisfied when owners try to find solutions outside the law.

"They have to find a way out of this by talking to everyone involved, while at the same time respecting the rules," added the lawyer and former player.
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