MLS to start season with replacement refs

MLS to start season with replacement refs

Major League Soccer

MLS to start season with replacement refs

Mark Geiger

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By RYAN TOLMICH

The 2014 MLS season will kick off without the presence of its usual officials after the organization that manages professional referees in the U.S. and Canada officially announced a lockout effective today.

The Professional Referee Association (PRO) announced this morning that, after months of negotiations, it would be locking out its match officials after the Professional Soccer Referees Associations (PSRA) rejected a no strike/no lockout agreement. The lockout comes after months of negotiations between the two sides over their first collective bargaining agreement.

“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 according to the organization’s website.  “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.”

With the lockout, PRO will look to a group of international referees, former MLS officials, and officials from other domestic leagues to step in as replacements. In anticipation of the lockout, the replacement officials participated in a preseason training camp last week.

“We have high confidence in the qualifications of our replacement officials and can ensure our fans, clubs and players that all games will be officiated at a professional standard that protects the integrity of our matches and the safety of our players,” said Walton.

Here is a list of the officials that will be working this weekend as MLS begins its 2014 season, according to MLS:

Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC, Saturday, 3 pm ET

Alan Kelly, former FIFA Ireland. Currently lives in the United States.

Dimitar Chadarav – MLS Reserve, NWSL

Kyle Longville – MLS Preseason

D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, Saturday, 7 pm ET

Andres Pfefferkorn – NASL Referee, MLS Preseason

Yevgeniy Mednikov – USL PRO

Stefan McHardy – MLS Preseason

FC Dallas vs. Montreal Impact, Saturday, 7 pm ET

Jorge Luna – Former MLS official (4th)

Luis Guardia – Open Cup

Pedro Trejo – International, NASL

Vancouver Whitecaps vs New York Red Bulls, Saturday, 7:30 pm ET

Abbey Okulaja – Former MLS Referee

Brandon Major – MLS Preseason, MLS Reserve, Open Cup

Eric Weisbrod – USL PRO

Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution, Saturday, 8:30 pm ET

Ramon Hernandez – Former MLS Referee

Isreal Fernandez – MLS Preseason

Marcos de Oliveira – MLS Preseason, NASL

Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday, 10:30 pm ET

Ioannis Stavridis – Former FIFA Greece. Currently lives in the United States.

Caleb Mendez – MLS Preseason, NASL

Andrew Bigelow – NASL, Open Cup

LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, Saturday, 10:30 pm ET

Javier Santos – Current FIFA Puerto Rico

Jairo Morales – Current FIFA Puerto Rico

Jose Da Silva – MLS Preseason, NASL

Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire, Sunday, 3 pm ET

William Anderson – Current FIFA Puerto Rico

Jair Morales – Current FIFA Puerto Rico

Jose da Silva – MLS Preseason, NASL

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What do you think of this news? How worried are you about the use of replacement officials? Will it have any effect on this weekend’s games?

Share your thoughts below.

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