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NFL Will Use Replacements on Field as Talks With Referees Fail

The National Football League will have replacement officials on the field when the Super Bowl champion New York Giants open the 2012 season against the Dallas Cowboys this week.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ended three days of talks yesterday with representatives of the NFL Referees Association without reaching an agreement on a new contract. The league locked out the officials in June.

“No further talks are scheduled,” said league spokesman Greg Aiello in an e-mail. “We are proceeding with the replacement officials.”

The league and its part-time officials are negotiating over pay, pensions and operational issues, Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of operations told the 32 teams in a memo last week.

The season opens Sept. 5 with the Giants-Cowboys game at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“We are disappointed because it means that our members will not be back on the field for Week 1 of the regular season due to the NFL’s continuing lockout,” said Mike Arnold, lead negotiator for the union, in a statement. “We remain willing to negotiate with the NFL in order to reach a fair agreement.”

The replacement officials worked the preseason games, drawing criticism for missed calls, inaccurate spotting on downs and general lack of skill and experience.

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