NFL and NFL Referees Association reach agreement

Andrew Clark

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A deal has been reached between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA), ending a lockout that has become a public relations nightmare for the league.

Referees are expected to begin work immediately, beginning with Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens.

According to Fox Sports, the final sticking point was the pension plan, but the two sides ended the stalemate Wednesday.

The new agreement calls for the creation of a developmental program to train new referees instead of the NFL’s demand for 21 additional officials.  Officials in the program will partner with existing referees but will not officiate games nor will they be NFLRA members, according to NFL.com.

The existing money pool for referees, another longtime issue, remains the same.

According to Fox Sports, referees will meet in Dallas on Friday to collect equipment and uniforms.