The NFL, America’s richest and most popular professional sport, will go ahead with its season, as planned, after owners and players agreed a new financial deal.
Months of heated rows over how to divide annual revenues had threatened the start of this year’s campaign.
But on Monday both parties agreed to a multi-billion dollar ten-year deal to be split 53 to 47 per cent in favour of the owners.
NFL commissioner Roger Smith said “It has been a long time coming. Football is back and that is good news for everybody. I want to thank all the players for their leadership and for securing the long-term future of the game.”
NFL Players representative Kevin Mawae echoed Smith’s relief and joy at getting back to business: ‘‘On behalf of the players of the NFL, this is a great day. Our players can’t be more excited about getting back to what they love the most. We stuck it out to the end and held our ground.”
With the dispute resolved, preparations for the coming season will now be accelerated. Clubs will scramble for new signings and training camps will finally open in readiness for the September 8 start.