WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Representatives of the National Football League and its players’ union met Thursday to try and thrash out a last-minute labor deal and avoid a possible lockout next season.
With the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire at 11:59 p.m. EST, time was quickly running out for the feuding parties to reach a compromise.
No one attending the meeting gave any indication of whether a lockout was inevitable though local media speculated the union would choose to decertify and challenge the NFL in court under antitrust law.
The union and the NFL are at odds over how they should divide the $9 billion annual revenues that are generated by America’s most popular sport.
Under the current agreement the players get around 60 percent. But the NFL and team owners want a bigger slice of the pie to fund, in part, the building of new stadiums.
The feuding sides have spent months trying to negotiate a deal but have failed to reach an agreement, raising the possibility that next season could be interrupted by a lockout.
The last time the NFL season was affected by a labor dispute was in 1987 when the league brought in replacement players for a strike, which lasted 24 days.
Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Steve Ginsburg