The NFL has confirmed that it will begin hiring and training replacement officials this month after talks broke down on a new contract with the current group of officials.
“Negotiations with the NFL Referees Association on a new collective bargaining agreement remain unresolved and the previous CBA has expired,” the league said in a statement. “Therefore, in order to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season we will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials.”
Regional training sessions for replacement officials will begin in June, the league said, in an effort to have the replacement officials ready to go if a deal with the regular refs is still unresolved when the regular season starts.
“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 its statement.
The NFL’s previous six-year agreement with its officials expired this year. Although negotiations on a new CBA with the officials began in October, progress remains slow.