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October 1, 2009

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NBA opts for backup referees

THE NBA has told teams it's going ahead with replacement referees, days after the league thought a deal had been reached with locked-out officials.

The league sent a memo on Tuesday informing teams it had "no expectation of concluding a timely labor contract." The memo follows the latest failure in negotiations.

According to the memo, the sides had agreed in principle on a new two-year deal on Friday. But the National Basketball Referees Association rejected the NBA's proposal on Sunday.

The memo alludes to the reversal, saying, "this is not the first time that commitments made by the NBRA's negotiators were not met." Commissioner David Stern previously ended one of the bargaining sessions when the league felt the referees backed out of earlier concessions.

The NBA held referees training camp with replacements at the weekend and will release its roster of backups before the first preseason game, set for tomorrow.

The union's five-person executive board originally voted to recommend the approval of the league's proposal to the membership, according to sources. However, one of the board members then switched his vote, and the full membership then rejected the deal.


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