FIFPro support Napoli players against club's "abuse and intimidation"

Milan (AFP) –


Players' union FIFPRO said Saturday they would support Napoli players against "further abuse and intimidation" after the Italian club's reported decision to fine their under-performing team.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has reportedly ordered that players be deducted part of their month's salary, some as much as 50 percent, after players refused to attend a week-long training camp.

"FIFPRO is standing by ready to assist, in close co-operation with AIC (Italian Players' Association), to ensure the players are not subjected to further abuse and intimidation," FIFPRO said in a statement.

De Laurentiis ordered the team into a 'ritiro' or training retreat after a 2-1 league defeat to rivals Roma saw the Serie A runners-up slip to seventh in the league.

But as coach Carlo Ancelotti voiced his disagreement with the lockdown, the players all returned home after a 1-1 draw against Salzburg three days later, which stalled their bid to reach the Champions League last 16.

In total, players' salaries will be cut by 2.5 million euros ($2.7 million), according to Italian media reports.

"Napoli's intention to withhold player salaries is without valid grounds and is being contested collectively," Dutch-based FIFPRO continued.

"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."

Napoli drew 1-1 with European champions Liverpool on Wednesday and host Bologna on Sunday looking to end a seven-game winless run in all competitions.

"At the end of the game De Laurentiis thanked the lads for this important performance," said Ancelotti after the game in Anfield.

De Laurentiis added on social media: "These matters will be resolved between us without external pressure or conditioning."