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SBD/January 21, 2011/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on ESPN's "Jim Rome Is Burning" Thursday to discuss the league's current labor situation, and he said his informal meeting Wednesday with NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith should be considered a "positive sign." But he admitted the two sides "need to have more of them, and we have to have them more focused on productive discussions that lead to a result." The current CBA expires on March 4, and Goodell said the lack of sustained negotiations is not a "matter of blame," instead saying it is "one of those things where every party has got to make a commitment to negotiating something that works for all parties and get down and get to work." Goodell: "Any time you're in a collective bargaining process, you're going to have periods of time where either negotiating team is going to go back and think about the issues, try to figure a way to address it. So there are probably times when a healthy break from the negotiations can occur. But they have to be done in such a way as to be working towards an agreement and they have to be addressing the issues that each side presents." He added a lockout is "certainly not an outcome that anyone from an NFL team is looking for, the commissioner is looking for. I don't believe the players want that kind of an outcome, and I certainly know the fans don't want that outcome."
OTHER LEAGUE ISSUES: Goodell also touched on several other issues facing the league, including the prospect of an 18-game regular season. He acknowledged the expanded schedule could result in "potentially larger rosters during the regular season, which is one of the issues we've discussed." Goodell also said implementing a rookie salary cap is "important for us." Goodell: "It's important for the way we pay our veteran players. You want to pay for performance on the NFL field and we believe a lot of that money should go to the veteran players." Meanwhile, with two separate stadium projects in L.A. being planned with the goal of landing an NFL team, Goodell said, "There are some positive developments in Los Angeles with respect to a stadium. ... There are things that we want to continue to focus on because we want to be back in L.A." After the interview, ESPN.com's Howard Bryant said of the 18-game schedule, "You've got a line in the sand issue here. ... That's the critical issue as a galvanizing point. The players are trying to figure out how do you say you want more safety and then add two games to the schedule?" When asked if there was a "price tag" that would make adding two more games to the schedule worth it for the players, Bryant said, "Depends on how much you believe that this is finally going to be the issue that brings the players together" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 1/20).
WE CAN WORK IT OUT? Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti is "confident that there will be a full season played in 2011 and a salary cap will return to the NFL." Bisciotti on Thursday said, "We've got some work to do, there's no doubt about it. But it doesn't do me any good not to be optimistic. I know how intelligent and committed our group is to getting a deal done" (Baltimore SUN, 1/21). But in Philadelphia, Paul Domowitch writes, "Buckle your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride the next several months. Maybe very, very bumpy" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/21). Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Michael Smith noted the NFL is selling $200 Super Bowl tickets to watch the game outside at Cowboys Stadium's Party Plaza and said, "All this while the league is complaining that the collective bargaining agreement doesn't work and they're making money" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/20).
The prospect of the NBA and NBPA reaching a new CBA by the end of the current contract, June 30, "appears unlikely," according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. The league and union are scheduled to meet during All-Star weekend next month, but the "chasm between the sides is wide and deep as the league seeks to overhaul the economic model and the union prefers to have tweaks to it." Talk of a work stoppage "is predominant," although NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver earlier this month said that "it's not a given to occur." NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter "senses a heightened concern given his experience in agreements reached" in '99 and '05. The league contends that the "system is broken, predicting a loss" of about $350M this season, while the players believe that the "current CBA is working, pointing to increased income from TV revenue, ticket sales, merchandise and lower salaries." Hunter has "told players to brace for a lockout," and the "labor mood is far more solemn because of the drastic differences." Hunter said, "I figured by the All-Star break I'd see some indication as to whether or not they were serious about negotiating or whether they were just expecting capitulation" (USA TODAY, 1/21).
TALKING THINGS THROUGH: Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations Jeanie Buss, who serves on the NBA's Labor Committee, said there are "some economic issues that teams have to deal with and we have to deal with them on a league level." Buss added, "I'm optimistic because I do feel there are plenty of members of the committee, as well as the ownership groups, that don't want to see (a lockout). But we do need to address some of the economic issues so I'm hoping for the best." While Buss said the problems are "more serious than they were" when the NBA had a work stoppage during the '98-99 season, she added, "They are problems that can be addressed through collective bargaining, so that keeps me optimistic because we have players and owners that want the same thing and that's to play basketball" (WSJ.com, 1/19).
FIFA has “backtracked on a plan to switch the 2022 World Cup finals from summer to winter amid growing opposition from European clubs over the disruption it would cause to their leagues,” according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. FIFA on Thursday said that there “were ‘no concrete plans’ to change the international calendar and put the onus back on” Qatar to “drive any move to hold the tournament in its cooler months.” FIFA in a statement said, “Any potential move of the 2022 FIFA World Cup from a summer to a winter period would have to be initiated by the football association of Qatar and would have to be presented to the FIFA executive committee.” FIFA President Sepp Blatter earlier this month said he “expected” the tournament to be held in January instead of June. Since Blatter’s “declaration about a possible winter World Cup, senior football club executives and administrators across Europe have voiced concerns about the impact of a ten-week break in the middle of their domestic seasons and the knock-on disruption of a further two seasons on either side.” EPL CEO Richard Scudamore is “expected to argue strongly against the idea of a winter World Cup” when he travels to Qatar next week as a guest of Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed bin Hammam. Bin Hammam has “previously dismissed a date change, saying that Qatar was capable of hosting it in the summer, the basis on which it was selected last month, by playing matches in air-conditioned stadiums.” But on Thursday, he appeared to “soften his stance and suggested the debate should be shelved” until after the ’18 World Cup in Russia (LONDON TIMES, 1/21).
NASCAR driver Carl Edwards "still plans to contest the full Nationwide Series schedule but would prefer to be allowed to compete for the championship," and the series' sponsor "prefers it, too," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. NASCAR President Mike Helton and VP/Competition Robin Pemberton were scheduled to "outline a new rule" on Friday that "forces drivers to choose between earning points in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck series." Nationwide Insurance Senior VP/Marketing Services Jennifer Hanley said, "Our preference would be to allow a sunset clause for Cup drivers who have been dedicated to run in our series, particularly Edwards and (Brad) Keselowski." Ryan notes Nationwide was "consulted on competition changes" for '11 after NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France said that he "wanted the series to become more of a developmental platform for the Sprint Cup Series" (USA TODAY, 1/21).
ALL IN FAVOR? SCENEDAILY.com's Kenny Bruce reported NASCAR drivers seem "pretty much in agreement on a new points system expected to be announced" for the Sprint Cup Series next week. Edwards said, "If I am running 12th or something, I don’t even know how many points that is worth and I have been doing this long enough that I should know. So if it makes it simpler for the competitors and the fans to follow along and understand, then I think it is a good move. We all race so hard for the wins that whatever points system it is, we are going to race hard." Five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson said, "I don't see it being a big thing. I know people expect me to react and think, ‘Oh, they've got to leave it alone, don't change it.’ I don't care what races are in the Chase, the format to win the championship." Driver and team Owner Tony Stewart: "As long as we all know what it is at the beginning, I don't think the competitors really care." Driver Kasey Kahne added, "The thing I like about it is it helps the fan understand the points a little better" (SCENEDAILY.com, 1/20). In San Diego, Bill Center wrote under the header, "No Points System Perfect, But NASCAR Lays An Egg With This Idea" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/20).