MLS referee lockout over after passing of new CBA

Alan Kelly, Thierry Henry

Photo by Howard C. Smith/


Move on over, replacement referees. MLS’s main officials are coming back.

MLS and the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) have reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), according to several reports.

The passing of the new CBA came on Wednesday night and ends an ugly, two-week lockout at the start of the 2014 MLS the season. It is believed that the agreement for the CBA passed by a 72-3 margin.

Terms of the deal have not been made public, but it is believed that the new CBA will be in place for five years.

Main negotiating topics included match payments, travel standards, fitness and fitness testing, injury insurance, and performance evaluations.

The regular officials are expected to return to work this weekend when the third round of 2014 MLS matches take place.


What do you think of MLS’s officials returning to work after a new CBA was agreed upon? Expecting the quality of officiating to immediately improve with their return? Hoping some of the replacement referees are used again in the coming weeks and months?

Share your thoughts below.


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28 Responses to MLS referee lockout over after passing of new CBA

  1. Increase0 says:


  2. William the Terror says:

    72-3. So, if there are 75 members, on any given match day less than half of them work? Or, does that also include 4th officials? Even then, only slightly more than half work. Are these guys making a living as refs or do they hold down other jobs?

    • slowleftarm says:

      I would assume it includes fourth officials (I also think there is a fifth official in a booth somewhere but could be wrong). I also assume these guys have other jobs, like NFL refs.

      • Dave says:

        “MLS (Major League Soccer) referees make a salary based on their level of experience. Level four is the most experienced and make a total of 875 a game. assistant referees make $495 a game and officials make $285 a game. Level three referees make 775 per game, assistant referees earn $360, and officials make $260 a game. Level two makes $679, $310, and $230 per game. Level one makes $565, $255, and $205 per game” uncited reference prior to this last agreement No, they have other jobs.

  3. Rex says:

    I wish we could hire a few of those replacements. I saw some a few very well officiated games.

    • Skyman says:


      And to reiterate Kaiser Klinsman’s catalyst yesterday: Now is the time to change the nature and culture if the game by giving more calls for physical and obviously purposeful fouls, particularly the ones that committed against skilled players in the midfield.

      • Dave says:

        Some of the games were being refereed by referee trainers. In other words, some of the well refereed games were because the referees were paid more than the refs they replaced.
        If this was indeed all about money, then MLS wasn’t willing to pay them that much in the long term.

  4. WeatherManNX01 says:

    Huzzah! Now we can get rid of some of these questionable calls and go back to the other questionable calls!

  5. Drew11 says:

    Should we be worried about the upcoming new CBA with the players?

  6. Ron says:

    Blind man’s holiday!

  7. Dan in New York says:

    The bad PK call in the Red Bulls – Rapids game clearly sped this decision.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Doubt it. I’ve seen plenty of calls just as bad from the regular refs.

      • RB says:


        And there is not such the consensus on that particular call, either, for that matter. Lalas said the other day that it was the right call and that Olave should have known better, for example. And whether you like him or not, Lalas of course knows something about the game and about defending.

        • Brain Guy says:

          For many people, mentioning the name “Lalas” in connection with any point you are trying to make costs you 1000 credibility points. Sometimes it seems like he says stuff just to see the reaction it will elicit.

          • RB says:

            Yeah, this wasn’t one of those times. It’s on his podcast out yesterday, if you want to hear it.

    • solles says:

      I really dont think there was much, if any, difference between the replacement refs and the regular guys… in a few cases, Alan Kelly for instance, the reffing was far better than the norm.

  8. David says:

    Caption as Henry looks at “ref” skeptically: “No I swear I am the ref. Look they even gave me a whistle.”

    • Brain Guy says:

      “Can you help me out with this thing? With the extra pounds I’m carrying around my middle, I’m huffing and puffing so much that I blow it at random times. That penalty on Olave? Nothing more than exhaustion.”

  9. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Does this deal include stronger requirements regarding the detection of blatant fouls that cause severe injuries? The refs need to whistle head to head confrontations and purposeful elbowing of the head and neck areas. Elbowing fouls often look as if they were practiced. And Klinsmann should speak for all players not just for one of his pets.

  10. soccerhorn says:

    It’s shocking how little these guys get paid, especially when you consider the amount of abuse they take, from players, coaches, media, and here on message boards like this.

  11. MidWest Ref says:

    My recollection is that all refs (center, AR, 4th) get paid game fees plus travel expenses.

    There is also a select group (I think 20 or so) that are paid to be full time employees of PRO. I am sure others have more specific information and will correct any of my mistatements.

  12. solles says:

    whoever is reffing, lets hope they start calling the physical play a lot tighter, get that hack and slash crap out of the game for the sake of everyone involved, players and fans alike.

  13. Remy says:

    I doubt this will improve anything. The regular referees are worse than the replacement referees.