MLS Referees Strike Over After Union Agrees Deal

Striking Major League Soccer referees will return to work this weekend after agreeing to a new seven-year labor agreement, authorities announced Tuesday.

The Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), the organization that represents MLS referees, and the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) have adopted a collective bargaining agreement that will last until 2031.

MLS’s finest referees have not overseen any games this season since talks on a new contract halted just before the 2024 season began.

Both sides claimed in a statement that a provisional agreement was struck last week, and that PSRA members voted to approve the pact Monday.

“It has been a difficult time for everyone as we worked to reach an agreement,” PRO’s general manager Mark Geiger said in a statement.

“This seven-year term provides enhanced pay and benefits for all officials and the stability that will support the growth of the professional game in the United States and Canada.”

With its professional match officials locked out, MLS has used substitute referees from the lesser ranks of US soccer to adjudicate games since the season’s start.

However, both MLS players and coaches expressed discontent with the quality of the substitute officials, accusing them of committing a series of errors in recent games.

“Players are very clear that the replacements are under-trained, lack experience and are not nearly at the level that a league of @MLS’s stature deserves,” the MLS Players Association, the players’ union, said in a statement earlier this month.

 

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