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
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.