Union challenges revenue-sharing cut


NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL Players Association has challenged the league’s right to eliminate a supplemental revenue-sharing program among the 32 teams.

NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah confirmed Tuesday that the union sent a letter to an arbitrator disputing the league’s right to unilaterally drop the revenue-sharing under the current collective bargaining agreement. The owners have opted out of that contract, which runs through next season, and negotiations are under way for a new CBA.

The league says the plan involved about $100 million of a $6.5 billion pot, while the union claims that number will be closer to $200 million in 2010. It is being cut because the 2010 season will not have a salary cup unless a new CBA is reached.

Atallah said the union has three concerns about the NFL’s decision:

—It is a signal for proposed salary cap changes that may be forthcoming;

—The NFLPA wants to maintain as much revenue sharing under the CBA system to protect the small market teams;

—Where is the money going if it is taken out of this supplemental program?

The program the league plans to terminate involves the top 15 revenue teams placing funds into a pool from which many of the lower income clubs can draw. It does not include television money or box office revenues.

Nine franchises qualified to receive funds this year, although the league has not identified them. The supplemental revenue sharing for four years under the salary cap has totaled about $450 million.

"The core issue of the CBA is the allocation of revenue and costs between the clubs and players, not the allocation of revenue among the clubs," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "The NFL clubs share 80 percent of their revenue, the most extensive revenue sharing by far in sports. We are simply going forward in the current CBA on the terms that the union approved in March of 2006. This is an attempt by the union to deflect attention from the core issue of the CBA."