NFL begins to hire, train replacement officials

  • By Gregg Rosenthal
  • Around The League editor
  • Published: June 4, 2012 at 11:50 a.m.
  • Updated: June 4, 2012 at 12:25 p.m

Another year, another labor battle. This time, the NFL is going up against the NFL Referees Association.

The league announced Monday that it will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials. Negotiations with the NFL's referees remain unresolved.
"Our goal is to maintain the highest quality of officiating for our teams, players, and fans, including proper enforcement of the playing rules and efficient management of our games," the league said in a statement.

A negotiation session took place Sunday under the direction of the federal mediation and conciliation service. The FMCS also assisted in last year's labor negotiations between the league and its players. Negotiations on a new agreement with the officials began last October. The previous agreement was for six years, but no new deal is in sight, so the league is going to Plan B. Regional training sessions for new officials will start later this month.
While this labor battle won't receive the same kind of attention as the one that took place last year, it figures to become an increasingly prominent point of discussion -- especially among fans -- if a deal isn't reached by the start of the regular season.