Calgary Herald

mediation offered in NFL dispute

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National Football League players and owners, embroiled in a dispute over a new labour contract, got an offer from a judge to send the case to federal mediation.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in St. Paul, Minn., after hearing attorneys argue today for five hours over an NFL ownerimpos­ed labour lockout, told attorneys for both sides they should return to the bargaining table and that the court would be willing to assist them in reaching an agreement.

“Both sides are at risk. This is a good time to come back to the table,” the judge said. “This is really a matter to be resolved, in my view, with the services of the federal court.”

Nelson said she wouldn’t decide, possibly for weeks, whether to issue a playersoug­ht order forcing the owners to end the lockout. During the lockout, players aren’t being paid and teams can’t practice, sign new players or make trades.

Owners of the NFL’s 32 teams declared the lockout March 11.

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