Talks break off between NFL, officials

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 02 2012 01:11 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2012 09:12 PM

NEW YORK - The NFL and its officials' union broke off contract talks again Saturday, setting the pace for the season to open next week with replacement referees.

"We met with the NFL this morning and discussed various potential solutions to reach a new collective bargaining agreement," the NFL Referees Association said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any agreement.

"We are disappointed because it means our members will not be back on the field for week one of the regular season due to the NFL's continuing lockout."

Although no additional meetings have yet been set, the referees association said it was willing to negotiate with the NFL to reach a "fair agreement."

The NFL, which locked out officials in June, advised teams earlier this week that it planned to open the 2012 season using replacement officials.

The move may have helped get both parties back to the negotiating table, but it couldn't end the stalemate that comes a year after the league locked out players from March to July before inking a new contract.

The league said the sides remain at odds on economic issues, including pay and pension, and non-economic issues involving the league's desire to be able to replace officials it believes are inadequate.

The regular season begins on Wednesday, when the reigning Super Bowl champion New York Giants host the Dallas Cowboys.

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