PIFL and NFL agree to partnership

KNOXVILLE – The Professional Indoor Football League and the National Football League have recently completed a partnership agreement for the development of PIFL officials for the 2012 indoor football season beginning on March 10 and ending with the championship game in late June.

The NFL will recruit, train, evaluate and develop all PIFL officials as part of their comprehensive development process for NFL officials. NFL Vice President of Officiating, Carl Johnson said, "We are looking forward to working with the Professional Indoor Football League.  This partnership provides another avenue for us to assist in the development of top officiating talent."  John Hargrove, managing partner of the Columbus Lions and member of the PIFL executive committee, expressed the excitement of the PIFL.  "We are excited about the opportunity to work directly with the NFL on this most important part of the game. The additional value that this initiative will bring to the PIFL and subsequently to the NFL fans will be mutually beneficial, well received and much appreciated by football fans."

The PIFL starts training camps in February in the six-team league that includes the Richmond (VA) Raiders, Knoxville(TN) Nighthawks, Alabama (Huntsville, AL) Hammers, Columbus (GA) Lions, Albany(GA) Panthers and the Lake Charles-based Louisiana Swashbucklers.  The opening game will kick off in the Richmond Coliseum on Saturday, March 10 as the Raiders host the Columbus Lions.

The Hammers open training camp Feb. 24 and open the season at Louisiana March 17. Alabama faces Columbus on March 24 at 7 p.m. to open its home schedule at the Von Braun Center's Propst Arena.