The lockout which kept all NFL players from plying their trade has been lifted by a US District Court judge on Monday.
A month-long injunction had originally forced all NFL teams to stop operating, with players locked out of training or communication with coaches by team owners.
But ten players filed an antitrust lawsuit last Friday that included an injunction to try and block the lockout, and Judge Susan Nelson obliged by lifting the ban in court in Minnesapolis on Monday.
The league, its teams and its players are debating the percentage split of US$9 billion in revenue generated by the NFL, with franchise owners suggesting they need to receive a bigger split of the funding due to the rising costs of running a team.
But the NFL players – led by stars Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees – have stated their concern over the lack of evidence to support the claim of rising costs, and want to maintain their portion of the league revenue.
The NFL released a statement declaring it is likely to appeal the injunction lifting the lockout on league franchises, but believed an agreement between clubs and players on the division of revenue could be agreed to ensure the 2011 season kicks off on schedule in September.
“We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes,” the statement read.
“We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal.”
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