Argentina’s professional soccer players are pressing ahead with their plan to strike this weekend over millions of dollars in salary arrears, prompting the Argentine FA (AFA) to threaten clubs with sanctions for delaying the resumption of the league.

Some players are owed up to five months in salaries by clubs and the debts must be settled before competition resumes in the country’s five professional divisions, Argentine Players Union (FAA) boss Sergio Marchi told reporters on Thursday.

“The demands are just. We’re not asking for increases, but that payments be deposited in the footballers’ accounts,” Marchi said after a meeting with the captains of the teams in the five divisions.

“We have decided to down tools because the debts (clubs have) with the players dating back four and five months and which we’ve been demanding (be paid) since January 3 have not be settled.

“We had a good debate but the (strike) measure was never put in doubt and was unanimous,” he added.

However, the AFA, which had rescheduled the resumption of the first division championship for Friday after a delay of a month, retaliated by threatening to fine and dock points from clubs.

“The Argentine Football Association reminds (clubs) that its rules envisage sanctions for those that do not present their teams on the designated days and times,” an AFA statement said.

The return to action was delayed over the AFA’s drawn-out negotiations with the national government for the payment of a $25-million debt for match broadcasting rights.

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