The National Football League will hire replacement referees for next season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Schefter reported on Monday morning that the league sent an email to all of its teams on Sunday announcing it will move forward with hiring replacement refs for the 2012-13 season because negotiations ended unsuccessfully with the NFL Referees Association after the old contract expired on June 1.
The NFL released a message on Monday morning saying that "in order to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season we will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials." It also confirmed that regional training sessions for the replacement refs will begin towards the end of June.
In a report from last month citing Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the NFL hired a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to try to negotiate a new contract. The NFL had told its Scouting Department to begin preparations for hiring replacement refs if the two sides do not reach an agreement. Now that talks have reportedly broken down, the NFL is in fact moving forward with the hiring of the replacement refs but it is likely that the Conciliation service will continue to mediate talks.
UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, the NFL Players Association responded to the NFL's plan, according to a series of tweets by Sports Business Journal's Liz Mullen.
[tweet https://twitter.com/SBJLizMullen/status/209731450000519169] [tweet https://twitter.com/SBJLizMullen/status/209731925949157376]