MLS referee lock-out could endanger player safety, says players’ union

Red card

February 21 – The MLS Players Association have urged a quick resolution to the lockout of the league’s referees and cautioned that the use of replacement officials during the ongoing labour dispute could jeopardise the health of players.

Barring a sudden last-minute agreement, the MLS season opener on Wednesday featuring Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF will be officiated by replacement referees.

The referees’ union recently rejected a tentative contract, arguing it lacked a sufficient economic package and quality-of-life improvements.

“The skyrocketing growth of MLS has significantly increased demands on officials mentally and physically, and as such has increased demands on both our professional and personal time,” union president Peter Manikowski said in a statement.

“Our members are asking not only for fair compensation at a time when the league is reporting record growth, but also for the ability to take care of themselves on the road and at home to continue officiating at the highest level that this sport demands.”

The MLS Players Association cautioned: “On the eve of the 2024 MLS season, attention should be focused on the competition on the field.  The use of replacement referees will not only negatively impact the quality and results of our matches, it may also jeopardize the health and safety of players.”

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1713453614labto1713453614ofdlr1713453614owedi1713453614sni@w1713453614ahsra1713453614w.wer1713453614dna1713453614