Progress in CBA Talks Could See Prevention of Losing NFL Games

June 15, 2011

Renewed optimism that a new labour accord can be reached by the National Football League (NFL) and its players has risen after meetings between the two sides could end a three-month-old shutdown of the sport in time to avoid missing part of the season.

Owners of the league’s 32 teams are scheduled to meet June 21, stuff with clubs being told to prepare to stay late or overnight, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. The news comes after three weeks of labour talks have produced progress that may prevent a delay of the regular season, according to two people with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of negotiations and a media blackout imposed by a U.S. judge.

The approach of the season is thought to be encouraging efforts to reach a deal on how to divide about US$9bn in revenue, according to Bob Bruno, who teaches labour and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Bruno stated: “They’re getting there. I wouldn’t put a time frame on it but I would expect that there’s going to be football and going to be training camp and going to be something positive for both sides to talk about.”

Aiello declined to comment on the progress of talks though spokesman for the NFL Players Association, George Atallah said on the social networking site Twitter that “We’re focusing all our efforts on a long-term settlement, agreement and resolution.”

The NFL locked out players in March, who then sued the league for antitrust violations and wage-fixing in federal court, led by Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.