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Football: a few days before the resumption, MLS referees go on strike

Lionel Messi may not set foot on the pitch at Lockhart Stadium in Miami for the first day of Major League Soccer, Thursday February 22. After several controversies during Inter Miami’s world tour, the Argentine Golden Ball has recovered from his injuries, but this time he may not be in a jersey on the field due to a strike that shakes the MLS.

The event could well disrupt the start of the North American championship season, which must therefore resume this Thursday.

In negotiations since October 2023, the MLS and the professional referees union (PSRA) have failed to agree on their remuneration, while the previous collective agreement ended on January 15, 2024. Representative of the MLS in this case, the Professional Referee Organization is responsible for negotiating with the PSRA of arbitrators.

But the latest proposal, including a five-year collective bargaining agreement with a 10 to 104 percent increase in referee pay based on experience, as well as business-class plane tickets during the playoffs, has not been successful. is enough. The union refused the proposal, before beginning mobilization.

Indeed, the referees who officiate in MLS, but also in the women’s championship (NWSL), have been on strike since this Sunday. A movement which must continue in the coming days until no agreement has been reached. “The meteoric growth of MLS has increased the mental and physical burden on officials, making it difficult to balance our professional and personal lives,” said Peter Manikowskipresident of the PSRA, in order to justify the standoff of the referees.

Pending an arrangement, the start of the season could be ensured by replacement referees, as was the case in 2014 during a previous referees’ strike. MLS had used these “replacements” during the first two weeks of the championship.

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