The National Football League will open its 2012 regular season next week with replacement officials, the league announced on Wednesday afternoon.

NFL executive Ray Anderson told teams that replacement officials, whom the league has used since locking out the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) in June, will be on the field when the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys open the regular season in New York next Wednesday.

“Replacements will work as much of the regular season as necessary,” Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, wrote in a memo to all 32 teams.

Since beginning negotiations, the NFL and the officials’ union have been unable to make any progress on a new collective bargaining agreement. The sides remain apart on issues like salary, benefits, training and evaluation methodology.

The NFL used replacement officials for the first week of the 2001 regular season before agreeing to a contract with the NFLRA.

[Via ESPN]

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