The NFL and representatives of the locked-out referees conducted negotiations this week but were unable to strike a deal, according to several people familiar with the discussions.
Substantial talks between the two sides took place Tuesday and Wednesday, said one person with knowledge of the negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions remain at a sensitive stage. But the person said that significant differences on the economic issues of the dispute remain and no further talks were scheduled as of Friday morning.
The NFL has used replacement officials in games in the first two weeks of this season with members of the NFL Referees Association locked out. Criticism by players and media members of the performance of the replacement officials mounted after last weekend’s games.
One person familiar with the talks said pensions for the referees have become the major sticking point in the negotiations. The league considers the pensions being sought by the referees association too generous, several people with knowledge of the talks said. One person said the referees’ pension proposal calls for an annual league contribution of $38,500 per official.
The regular officials will have lost an average of $50,000 each in salary through this weekend while being locked out during the preseason and the first three weeks of the regular season, the person said.
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