Roger Goodell Gets Five-Year Extension as NFL Commissioner

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(Reuters) – National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, who helped reach a labor deal with players that salvaged the 2011 season, was handed a five-year contract extension that will extend his reign to 13 years, the league said on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old Goodell’s deal was set to expire in March 2014, but the league’s 32 clubs unanimously voted to extend his contract until March 31, 2019.

“I speak on behalf of 32 NFL club owners in saying we are fortunate to have Roger Goodell as our commissioner,”Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in the statement.

“Since becoming commissioner in 2006, the NFL — already the leader in professional sports — has gotten even stronger. As evidenced by this contract extension, we have great confidence in Roger’s vision and leadership of the NFL.”

The NFL endured a fourth-month lockout last year during bitter negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement but the season began on time after a deal was reached.

The new deal avoided a potentially disastrous impact on the season in a league that generates $9 billion in revenue, a number that has grown steadily during Goodell’s time in charge.

“It is the only place I’ve ever wanted to work,” Goodell said in a statement issued through his spokesman.

“I am grateful to the owners, the staff, players and coaches, it is truly a team effort. I am looking forward to the challenge of building on our momentum and doing all we can to improve for the fans and everyone who is part of our league”.

The current NFL season concludes on February 5 when theNew England Patriots and the New York Giants meet in the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

(Reporting By Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)