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Monday, April 07, 2008
NFL Backtracks on Debt Reduction Plan

Back in February, I discussed the NFLPA's collusion claim in response to a vote by NFL owners to lower the debt ceiling (how much money a team can borrow) by $30 million and to cut $1 billion of league and team debt over the next three years. Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal (subscription only) reports today that the NFL has surprisingly agreed to suspend its controversial initiative to reduce team debt, and in return the NFLPA has withdrawn its collusion complaint. According to the agreement, the union will receive 45 days notice to file a motion to stop the league if the NFL later decides to carry out the plan. The NFL's decision to now suspend the debt plan is an interesting development when the NFL had been vigorously defending the debt reduction plan as a necessary and prudent business decision in light of the existing global credit turmoil. A key piece of evidence for the union in its collusion claim was a statement made to SportsBusiness Journal by NFL finance committee chairman and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson shortly after the owners approved the debt reduction plan that “The union forced this, not us.”


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