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NFL, refs' union board agree to $30K stipend for opt outs

The NFL Referees Association announced Sunday that it has reached a deal with the league on health and safety protections and an opt-out program for the upcoming 2020 season.

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The agreement was approved by the NFLRA board of directors and will advance to a full vote of membership Monday. If approved, game and replay officials will have until Thursday to notify the league of a decision to opt out.

Should game and replay officials elect to opt out in respect to fears surrounding the coronavirus, they will receive a $30,000 stipend and a guarantee that their jobs will be protected in 2021.

“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members,” said Scott Green, NFLRA executive director. “Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the league that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.”

The NFL’s roster of officials currently stands at 121, enough to give each official at least one week off during the season. A standard NFL crew has seven on-field officials.

According to the NFLRA, the agreement also includes the following stipulations:

--There will be COVID-19 testing twice per game week. For a Sunday game, officials will be tested on Thursday at home and on Saturday at the site of the game.

--Any official who tests positive for COVID-19 during the season will receive salary, medical and other benefits the NFL normally provides when an official sustains an injury on the job.

--Any official who tests positive or shows symptoms of illness at a game site will receive medical expenses, lodging and travel expenses home from the NFL.

--Field Level Media

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