Source: NFL has 5-week sked for replacement refs

NEW YORK — The NFL has devised a temporary five-week schedule for using replacement officials.

A person familiar with the schedule told The Associated Press on Monday that the setup is done through Week 5 of the regular season. The regular officials are locked out and replacements worked the preseason and the first week of the regular season.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not made public officiating schedules.

In early June, the league locked out the officials, who are part-time NFL employees, after their collective bargaining agreement expired. The NFL Referees Association and the league met for three days at the beginning of September before talks collapsed.

The NFL and the union, which covers more than 120 on-field officials, are at odds over salary, retirement benefits and operational issues. The NFL has said its offer includes annual pay increases that could earn an experienced official more than $200,000 annually by 2018. The NFLRA has disputed the value of the proposal, insisting it would ultimately reduce their compensation.

Replacements were used in 2001, but only for one week of the regular season before a deal was reached.

This year’s replacements have had some errors, particularly late in Arizona’s 20-16 victory over Seattle when the Seahawks were awarded an extra timeout. The officiating crew admitted its mistake after the game.

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