Italy looked almost certain to face a players' strike after talks failed to produce an agreement between players and the league 48 hours before the scheduled start of the Serie A football season.
Serie A president Maurizio Beretta says the league, representing the 20 top flight clubs, had rejected the latest proposal from the Italian FA aimed at ending a dispute over the signing of a collective agreement concerning players' rights.
The Italian Players Union (AIC) has already said there would be no matches if a new agreement was not signed and its president Damiano Tommasi reiterated its stance.
There was no indication of when or whether the strike would be officially declared, or of what the next step would be.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) sharply criticised the dispute.
The FA's proposal was to set up a special fund to guarantee that clubs would not have to pay a new austerity tax introduced by the government.
The dispute has rumbled on since the end of the 2009/10 season when a previous agreement expired.