Major League Soccer locks out referees and other officials
Referee Baldomero Toledo issues a red card to Vancouver Whitecaps' Jun Marques Davidson, 27, of Japan, after he head-butted Philadelphia Union's Keon Daniel during the first half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday July 27, 2013. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
The Associated Press
Published Friday, March 7, 2014 1:44PM EST
NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer's referees and other on-field officials were locked out Friday, a day before the season openers.
The Professional Referee Organization, which manages game officials for the U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS, notified the Professional Soccer Referee Association of the lockout and said replacement officials will be used.
PRO said the union, which was formed last year, rejected a no strike-no lockout agreement that management had proposed. The sides have bargained since July without reaching a deal on a labour contract.
"Our proposal represents a significant increase above current compensation for referees and places them above the average for officials around the world," said PRO general manager Peter Walton, an English Premier League referee from 2003-12.
PRO said in the 1 1/2 years since its formation, it had increased full-time officials from two to nine and added 11 part-time officials.
The PSRA has filed unfair labour practice charges accusing the PRO of bad-faith bargaining and making threats against its members.
"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," said Lukas Middlebrook, a lawyer for the union.
PRO said replacements include former international FIFA officials who have moved to the U.S. and former MLS officials.