Sport in America: Industrial inaction: Disputes rumble on

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THERE WAS movement yesterday in all of the three major American sports suffering turmoil over industrial relations. None is any closer to running as normal, however.

The ice hockey club owners made a revised offer to the players after more than six hours of talks yesterday, but details have yet to be released, and the players' response will not be announced until after further talks today. The talks were the first contact between the two sides since last week's announcement that the start of the season would be postponed until 15 October.

In basketball, which has not yet been hit by a strike, the talk of a first-ever stoppage is growing louder. The club owners met last night to discuss their growing differences with the players over salary caps, free agency, college drafts and the way the sport's money is distributed.

There are just two weeks before the season starts for the issues, which are broadly similar to those causing problems in hockey and baseball, to be resolved.

The latest moves in baseball, whose season was curtailed without a World Series this year because of the dispute, saw the owners call for a 45-day delay in the start of the period to sign players. That would mean that the 170 players who were expecting to be eligible as free-agents after 15 October under the old labour agreement, could not now be signed until 30 November.

'The idea is to stop the train before it leaves the station,' management lawyer Chuck O'Connor said.