5 Aug 2011

NFL players ratify 10-year deal

6:53 pm on 5 August 2011

American football players have completed their ratification of a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, confirming the end of the labour dispute.

Most of the terms of the agreement to end the National Football League's four-and-a-half month lockout were agreed to in July, and league and player representatives met this week to hammer out the last details.

The approval officially launches the "league year" and allows players who have inked contracts since July 26 to finally join team-mates in practice at training camps.

Among the issues that required further discussion were procedures for player discipline under the league's conduct policy and drug testing.

The league's first shutdown since 1987 began when millionaire players and billionaire team owners could not agree on how to divide more than $11 billion in annual revenues. Owners opted in 2008 to end the deal this year.

The new contract will not have an early opt-out clause but would allow expansion from 16 to 18 games a season per club as soon as 2013, provided the players agree to such a move.