The labour deal between the NFL and it’s players seems to be slowly moving towards a conclusion.

One thing that may have helped is that as well as there being a disagreement about money, there are also plenty of other issues on the table which can supply “coinage”. Coinage is a concession that has low value to one side and high value to the other side because it meets one of their underlying emotional needs (see my video on coinage here).

Look at the list of other issues, including blood testing for human growth hormone, a reduction in off-season workload, deciding which body has the authority to resolve disputes arising out of the new deal, and whether the next deal is a traditional collective bargain or the result of a lawsuit. There is plenty of scope for creating packages here in which monetary demands are offset against other concessions which help meet the other side’s emotional need for reassurance on a particular issue.

I would not be too worried about Judge Arthur Boylan (the mediator credited for a lot of the progress that has been made in discussions over recent weeks ) going on holiday this past week. Some people have commented that this is very bad timing and that he should have cancelled plans to keep working with both sides. However, like any good mediator, he knows that ultimately any settlement must be owned by the parties, not by him. In any event the parties will want to show that they were perfectly capable of solving the dispute without him…