Mar 1, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah (44) receives a yellow card from referee Drew Fischer in the second half at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

MLS to Start Season With Replacement Referees

The Professional Referee Organization (PRO), which is in charge of recruiting, training, and assigning referees to professional soccer leagues in the U.S. and Canada, has locked out MLS referees until a collective bargaining agreement can be reached with the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PRSA).

Replacement referees will be used for the Major League Soccer season starting tomorrow.  According to PRO, they will be using referees from overseas that now live in North America and former MLS referees.

It appears that PRO is offering compensation increases in an agreement to the PSRA.  From an AP Article, PRO General Manager, and former English Premier League Referee from 2003-2012, Peter Walton said:

“Our proposal represents a significant increase above current compensation for referees and places them above the average for officials around the world”

The PSRA does not want to accept a deal without seeing the MLS revenue numbers, which does not appear to likely to happen.  According to the same AP article, union lawyer Lukas Middlebrook states:

“We have requested a plethora of information, including financials, that PRO and MLS have refused to provide, instead demanding we take their pleas of poverty at face value.”

With MLS rising in popularity, they could have done without this happening right before the season starts.  Looking around the web, this is a story that is not getting a lot of play so casual fans will likely know about it going into the games tomorrow.

The first questionable call against every team is going to bring with it censure against the replacement refs on Facebook and Twitter; thus the story will be known to all. Let’s hope that PRO and PSRA can come to an agreement soon so that the story is on the players and the games.

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