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Arena Football League, players reach deal that could resume play in 2010

Pro football

Arena league, players reach deal

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Arena Football League and its players reached a collective bargaining agreement that could clear the way for play to resume in 2010.

Jim Renacci, vice chairman of the AFL executive committee, told the Associated Press that the deal will be announced Monday.

"That was an integral part of getting us back for 2010," Renacci said Saturday, adding an announcement on resuming play could come in the next 30 days. "We really need to if we're going to get back into the boat for 2010."

Renacci said the labor agreement is just one step toward getting back on the field next year. The league plans to restructure into a single entity ownership model and work out a deal with ESPN, which invested in the league and owned broadcast and Internet rights.

A spokesman from the NFLPA, which represents the indoor league's players, did not respond to a request for comment. But Renacci, a partner and managing board member of the Columbus Destroyers, said the agreement with the players was the first major hurdle for the 22-year-old league, which includes the Tampa Bay Storm.

The AFL's possible return bucks a trend of cutbacks in sports as leagues and teams try to adjust to the deepening recession.

Renacci said the league plans to resume play with 18 teams — the original 16 plus two in cities he would not identify.

"We've had a couple of teams that want to join," he said.

Track

Olympian Bolt shares first in first '09 race

Olympic star Usain Bolt ran his first 100-meter race of the year, finishing in 9.93 seconds and sharing first place at the GC Foster College Classic in Spanish Town, Jamaica.

The Jamaican slowed before the finish, reaching out to congratulate training partner Daniel Bailey in the next lane as they crossed the line together.

"He is my teammate, and he is getting better because normally he always cracks at the end of the race," Bolt said. "But he held it together this time, so that is why I was smiling."

Soccer

EPL: Liverpool routs leader Man United

Liverpool routed English Premier League leader Manchester United 4-1, reviving its faltering title chase with its biggest win at Old Trafford in 73 years.

Captain Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool the lead for good just before halftime.

United is four points ahead of Liverpool with a game in hand.

Tennis

Federer advances at Indian Wells

Second seed Roger Federer beat Marc Gicquel 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. Fourth seed Andy Murray wasn't at his best but beat Albert Montanes 7-5, 6-3. On the women's side, third seed Elena Dementieva lost to qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-1.

Et cetera

Boxing: Puerto Rican Roman Martinez (21-0-1) knocked out Britain's Nicky Cook (29-2) in the fourth round to capture the WBO super-featherweight belt in Manchester, England.

Cycling: Spanish rider Luis-Leon Sanchez took the overall lead of the Paris-Nice race by 1:09, pulling away about 9 miles from the finish to win the seventh stage in Fayence, France.

Iditarod: Defending champion Lance Mackey reached Eagle Island, Alaska, to maintain his lead with one-third of the race left.

Times wires

Arena Football League, players reach deal that could resume play in 2010 03/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 14, 2009 11:58pm]

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