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MLS will begin the season with replacement referees

Mar 7, 2014, 11:43 AM EST

Jack Jewsbury, Hanyer Mosquera, Baldomero Toledo AP

The 2014 MLS season begins on Saturday, but the matches will start without the help of the regular referees.

The Professional Soccer Referees of America (PSRA), who normally take charge of the games, have failed to come to terms with the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) on what would’ve been their first collective bargaining agreement. Due to that failure, the PRO have made the decision to lock out the PSRA – less than 24 hours before the MLS games are due to start. The lockout will end when a CBA is reached.

Until that time, replacement referees will be used, all of whom have officiated professional matches in the past. Some are former MLS officials, others have previously refereed for other leagues. With such a situation in mind, all replacement officials attended a preseason training camp last week, and the PRO maintains that they are highly qualified professionals.

The PRO stated that it presented a reasonable alternative that would have avoided a work stoppage. “We had suggested a no strike/no lockout agreement for a reasonable period in an effort to keep the negotiations going but that was rejected by the PSRA”, said PRO General Manager Peter Walton.  “Since they will not give us a guarantee they will not go on strike immediately prior to our matches, we are left in a position where we must use replacement officials to ensure that the MLS games are played as scheduled this weekend.”

  1. mdac1012 - Mar 7, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    This should be interesting since the regular guys weren’t all that great to begin with.

    • talgrath - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      Maybe the replacements will be better, that would be funny wouldn’t it?

  2. chadmoon1 - Mar 7, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    And you would come to that conclusion because of your extensive refereeing experience??

    • mdac1012 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      I am assuming that was directed at my post. No, I don’t have extensive refereeing experience, but I did play the sport through college and watch it religiously and my opinion is that the officiating in MLS is not that good. Maybe your opinion is different, but that’s why they allow posts here so people can give their opinion. Or were you not clear on what the comment section under these articles were for?

  3. chadmoon1 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    Of course, but your opinion is based on no experience of your own. I played for over 20 years and have been a referee for 22, doing HS, College, and was even lucky enough to do 10 pro games in my younger days. My opinion is that while MLS referees make mistakes, as do all referees in all leagues, for the most part the standard is high. And that opinion is based on doing it myself.

    Your opinion is like the Pope’s opinion on sex. Sure he may have one, but since he’s never done it…

    • mdac1012 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      Have you ever acted in a motion picture or television show? If the answer is no then I guess you have never criticized a movie you went to see. Are you a trained chef? If that answer is also no, then I guess you have never criticized a meal you have ordered at a restaurant. Have you ever held public office? If the answer is no, I guess you never voiced any criticism of a politician. Does that make any sense? No! Neither does your point.

      The problems with officiating in MLS have been discussed at great detail on this site, it is for the most part, wholly inconsistent. You don’t need to have been an official to know when one makes a bad call. I understand it’s a hard job, like I said, I played for a long time and saw my share of great officials and awful ones. But if you think the officiating in MLS is on par or even close to the caliber that you find in Europe, than you are watching different games than I am. I criticize the officiating because I want this league to improve, and the officials are as much a part of that as the players.

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