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"I would say that the parties had discussions today. They made some new proposals, we made some additional proposals. We didn't make a deal," Buchanan said.
McMorris previously said the officials, sensitive to the financial difficulties the league is facing, agreed to $2.5 million in concessions, but the league sought further cuts in areas such as the travel budget and per diems. Stern said the goal was to bring the referees' budget in line with other departments.
But McMorris said the officials are unwilling to accept any further changes to their retirement benefits.
"We've given so many concessions in other areas, a line has to be drawn," he said. "It has to be fair and equitable for everyone in our group."
McMorris said the referees won't be in New Jersey for their annual training camp, scheduled to begin Sunday. He praised them for the efforts they made in Chicago at their own expense, even while struggling to remain optimistic they could eventually pay off.
"I'm extremely proud of the 57 individuals that we represent. Their unity, the good-faith nature that they have sought to negotiate with their employee," McMorris said. "We're quite proud and confident that we've given it our best shot, that we've put forth a good-faith effort."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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