The National Football League has reportedly moved a step closer to agreeing a deal that will see referees return to action in the near future.
Referees have been locked out since the summer due to a dispute over wages and pensions, with replacement officials being employed at the beginning of this season.
However, the majority of officials have no NFL experience and a game between the Seattle Sounders and the Green Bay Packers on Monday ended in controversy after a refereeing mistake allowed Seattle to score a match-winning touchdown.
Reports in the US media suggest that the deal could be agreed as early as this weekend.
The NFL were planning to transfer the referees into a higher-risk retirement plan before the lockout was put in place.