The replacement officials who have worked preseason games this month have been the subject of considerable scrutiny. (Reuters)

Negotiations between the NFL and its locked-out referees resumed Friday in an effort to avoid having the regular season begin next week with replacement officials on the field.
   The NFL Referees Association issued a statement that said reports regarding the gap between the two sides on economic issues were “inaccurate” and that “ongoing negotiations with the NFL will be conducted in a confidential and professional manner.”
   One person with knowledge of the talks said the fact that the two sides were negotiating with a sense of urgency was encouraging but whether a deal could be struck before Wednesday’s season opener remained unclear.
   Replacement officials worked the preseason games. The NFL informed its teams in a memo Wednesday that it intended to begin the regular season using the replacement officials.
   The season begins Wednesday night with the New York Giants hosting the Dallas Cowboys. The Washington Redskins play their opener Sept. 9 at New Orleans as part of a full slate of games.
   The NFL used replacement officials for a week of regular season games in 2001.