NFL reaches agreement with referees on virus protections

The NFL Referees Association has reached an agreement with the NFL for health protections along with a program allowing game and replay officials to opt out of the season. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

WASHINGTON — The NFL Referees Association has reached an agreement with the NFL for health protections along with a program allowing game and replay officials to opt out of the season.

The association announced Sunday that the NFLRA’s board of directors unanimously endorsed the plan. Members will review the details Monday in a video conference call.

"There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members," NFLRA executive director Scott Green said in a statement. "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 deal gives officials until Thursday to tell the NFL if they plan to opt out of the 2020 season.

Under the agreement, any game or replay official can voluntarily take a leave of absence for the upcoming season and be paid $30,000 with their job guaranteed for 2021.

A game official who tests positive during the season will be treated as an injury during a league-sanctioned event, entitling the official to injury pay, medical expenses and other benefits. An official testing positive or with symptoms at a game site will have medical expenses, lodging and travel costs covered by the NFL.

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