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NFL to cut $100 million annual revenue-sharing program

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The NFL has told the NFL Players Association it will cut a $100 million annual supplemental revenue-sharing program that subsidizes lower-revenue teams.

That plan, which is a small portion of the $6.5 billion shared in full by all 32 teams, will be cut because the 2010 season will not have a salary cap.

"We are simply going forward on the terms the union approved in March of 2006," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Those terms pertain to only years with salary caps, the league says.

The NFLPA will challenge the league's move this week, a person familiar with the union's plans told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke anonymously because the NFLPA has not officially announced its intentions.

Union officials believe the owners can't terminate the program without the union's approval. The NFLPA also is concerned that some teams will not spend competitively because there is no minimum for spending under a non-salary cap system.

"The union is just trying to make noise to get some attention," Aiello said. "The CBA has special rules to protect competitive balance in the uncapped year. There will still be billions in equally shared revenue in 2010."

But the NFLPA worries about any cuts in any revenue-sharing.

"Revenue sharing helps maintain the 'any given Sunday' dynamic in the NFL," NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah told the AP in an e-mail. "The amount of money some owners propose to pull out of the system in 2011 could mean the difference between playoffs and blackouts for many teams."

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 monies or box office revenues.

Nine franchises qualified to receive funds this year, although the league has not identified them.

NFL owners have opted out of the collective bargaining agreement, which will end after next season unless a new contract is reached.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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