The NFL is preparing to head into 2012 with another labor situation unresolved, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the referees and the league is still up in the air. And on Monday, the NFL announced it would “proceed immediately” with the hiring of replacement refs.

A few weeks ago, we passed along the report that the NFL was telling its referee-scouting department to begin looking at possible replacements. The NFL made it official on Monday.

“Negotiations with the NFL Referees Association on a new collective bargaining agreement remain unresolved and the previous CBA has expired,” the league said in a statement. “In order to ensure that there is no disruption to NFL games this season we will proceed immediately with the hiring and training of replacement officials.

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