Despite claiming that the National Football League (NFL) and the players’ union (NFLPA) have made “some progress” over seven consecutive days of talks, denture George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, claims “very strong differences remain” between the two parties.
Cohen released a statement on Thursday, February 24, his first public comments since he began working with the League and Players’ Association last week. The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will expire on March 3, with the threat of a lockout looming large ahead of next season.
Cohen confirmed that the seventh consecutive day of talks would be the last for now, stating: “During the intervening weekend, the parties have been asked by us to assess their current positions. At bottom, some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties.”
He added: “Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance. I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions.”
It is thought that the biggest dispute concerns the division of the NFL’s US$9bn in annual turnover, although a rookie wage scale and a proposed increase of the regular season to 18 games have also been issues.