Some pretty significant news has emerged on the eve of the 2014 MLS Regular Season, as negotiations between the Professional Soccer Referees Association, a new union attempting to reach a collective bargaining agreement with MLS, and the Professional Referee Association, a governing body sponsored by MLS and U.S. Soccer to oversee officials in the United States since last year, broke down.
As a result, PRO has locked out the PSRA, and the referees who were originally scheduled to officiate the matches this weekend have been switched out for replacements who do not belong to the PSRA.
For more information on the particulars of the developing story, Steven Goff of the Washington Post has been one of the reporters on top of the scene, and this article from this morning provides details.
What does that mean for Chivas USA's game against the Chicago Fire on Sunday? The game is scheduled to proceed, and the new officiating crew is as follows, along with their qualifications, via MLSsoccer.com:
Head official: William Anderson (Current FIFA Puerto Rico)
Assistant referees: Jair Morales (Current FIFA Puerto Rico), Jose da Silva (MLS Preseason, NASL)
No listing on any of this weekend's games for a fourth official, so who knows what that's going to be like.
Obviously, there are some who are pleased to see the regular MLS officials step aside, due to the regular flak they receive, and there are some who are afraid the officiating standard is going to tumble and players will be in increased danger as a result. We cannot predict what will happen until the games get underway. Still, this is a big story, and will certainly overshadow the play on the field itself to some extent. We'll provide relevant updates to the story as it develops.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!