Owners Approve Qualifier Proposal to Put Revenue-Sharing Plan Into Effect
PHOENIX, Ariz.--The NFL's team owners voted, 30-2, here today to approve a set of criteria by which clubs will qualify to receive funds under the revenue-sharing system ratified last year.
The revenue-sharing plan was approved by the owners last March as part of the labor settlement with the players' union. It is to transfer about $900 million from high-revenue franchises to lower-revenue teams over a six-year span.
But the owners had not approved the criteria by which teams would qualify to receive funds. The issue was fractious, and it would have been left to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to set the criteria if the owners had not approved this plan.
"We have a plan in place," Houston Texans owner Robert McNair said. "We're all united. We've all compromised. None of us is happy so maybe it's a good deal. We all worked in good faith. We have something we believe will work for a number of years.... Some clubs who are paying say it's too much. Some clubs who are receiving say it's not enough. Therein lies the compromise."
The vote came on the opening day of the annual league meeting. The Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars were the only teams to vote against the proposal. It needed at least 24 votes to pass. The four-year deal covers the 2006 through 2009 seasons, after which the owners have the option of reopening the labor agreement with the players two years before it expires.
"It was a wonderful compromise," New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "I'm glad it didn't go to the commissioner. It got 30 out of 32 votes. I think it's a very fair plan. We have a great partnership in this league as a whole on the business side. We had a fracture from within this last labor negotiation. I think this is a step toward putting it back together. We have to do that."
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