FIFPRO backs Napoli squad against 'abuse and intimidation' from club

The Italians came down hard – and illegally, according to the body – on their players after they walked out of a mandatory training camp

International players’ union FIFPro has stated its intention to fight Napoli’s decision to fine the entire team for refusing to stay at a club-mandated retreat, while slating the institution for “abuse and intimidation.” 

Tensions around San Paolo have been high ever since the beginning of November when, in the wake of a Serie A defeat to Roma, the squad was ordered to attend a training camp. 

Just three days later, however, players flouted the order and returned home following a 1-1 Champions League draw against Red Bull Salzburg, which unleashed a crisis in the club. 

President Aurelio De Laurentiis responded by deducting a reported 50 per cent of each player’s monthly salary as punishment, while the debacle has also heightened pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti. 

According to FIFPRO, De Laurentiis’ measures are illegal and arbitrary, and will be disputed with the help of the organisation.

“Napoli’s intention to withhold player salaries is without valid grounds and is being contested collectively,” FIFPRO signalled in a statement released on Saturday.

“FIFPRO believes that the ad-hoc decision of Napoli forbidding players to go home and re-join their families, following the match against RB Salzburg, was unjustified.

“Like every other employee, professional football players have the right to ensure that their private life is respected, especially considering the already congested fixture list which sees many players away from home for prolonged periods.

“The grounds on which Napoli seeks the application of fines, for the players’ refusal to follow the unreasonable instructions of Napoli, contradict provisions in Italy’s collective bargaining agreement.

“The players of Napoli cannot be subjected to arbitrary decisions of a disenchanted club when the result of a match is unsatisfactory.

“We echo the sentiments of FIFPRO member, Associazione Italiana Calciatori (AIC), in that Carlo Ancelotti and his technical staff are ultimately responsible for managing the playing group however they deem fit.

“Technical matters are not the responsibility of club directors and we support Ancelotti and the players of Napoli for their united stand in clearly difficult times.

“FIFPRO is standing by ready to assist, in close co-operation with AIC, to ensure the players are not subjected to further abuse and intimidation,” FIFPRO said in a statement.

Napoli return to action on Sunday at home to Bologna, when they will try to break a seven-match winless run that stretches back to October.

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