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NFL headed for lockout with refs, prepares for officiating replacements next season

The contract between the NFL and its refs is set to expire on June 1 and the league is preparing for replacement refs next season.

USA Today reported on Friday that National Football League spokesman Greg Aiello said that "the goal is to negotiate an agreement" between the National Football League and its referees in creating a new labor agreement.

The NFL announced Thursday that it will hire a Washington-based Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in an attempt to resolve contract disputes with league referees, according to a report from Mark Maske of The Washington Post. The current contract is set to expire June 1 2012.

According to the report, the NFL has instructed its Scouting Department to begin preparations for replacement refs for next season if the two sides do not negotiate a new labor agreement. The mediation between the NFL and the refs is being provided by the same service used in last years lockout between the NFL and its players. Talks between the NFLPA and the NFL fell through but a court-appointed mediator intervened and a new contract between the sides was created.

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