It’s up, it’s good! NFL-referee deal includes DB plan freeze

NFL Game Officials' Pension Plan, New York, will be frozen after the 2016 National Football League season as part of a labor agreement reached Wednesday between the league and the NFL Referees Association.

Benefits will accrue through the 2016 season, or until an official earns 20 years of service, and will be frozen in 2017 to be replaced by a defined contribution plan, according to an NFL news release.

The NFL Game Officials' Pension Plan had $75 million in assets as of March 31, 2011, according to the NFL's most recent Form 5500 filing.

According to the news release, the league will contribute an average of over $18,000 per official in 2017, which would increase to $23,000 in 2019. There will also be an additional unspecified partial match to employee contributions.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined further comment. NFLRA spokesman Michael Arnold did not return a phone call by press time.

The league announced on June 4 that it would hire and train replacement referees following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLRA and replacement referees were used for all 2012 preseason games and the first three games of the regular season. Problems with bad calls and poorly controlled games escalated from the start of the season, culminating in a controversial touchdown call at the end of Monday's Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks game, giving the win to Seattle.