As National Football League team owners and the players union dig in for a potentially lengthy legal battle, NFL officials said owners have already set aside enough money to cover them in case the 2011 season is canceled.

In addition, NFL officials said there isn’t an immediate financial threat from the $4 billion in television-rights revenue that may be withheld because of a recent legal ruling. According to the owners’ plans, they only would need that money if the labor strife drags on to the 2012 season.

The window into the NFL’s finances and the revelation that the NFL had planned to set aside emergency funds to last two seasons, provided by two officials with direct knowledge of the league’s budget, came as the league and its players union begin a legal battle that will test their wills—and cash reserves.

At issue is how to divide some $9.3 billion in annual revenue.

George Atallah, deputy executive director of the NFL Players Association, said the league’s stockpiling of money shows “there was a clear and premeditated plan to lock out the players.”

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