MLS referee lockout officially ends: League agrees to seven-year CBA with PRO and PRSA, lasting through 2030

Written by on March 27, 2024

Entering matchday six, Major League Soccer’s regular officials will be able to return to work after the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) and Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) finalized a new Collective Bargaining Agreement  with the league that will cover the next seven years from 2024 through 2030. The PSRA officials are scheduled to return to MLS games on March 30.

To begin the season, replacement officials have been overseeing matches after the Collective Bargaining Agreement between PRO and the PSRA expired on Feb. 12. A proposal was rejected by more than 95% of officials leading to the lockout when the referees judged that it didn’t offer enough of the quality of life improvements that they were expecting. The new agreement will now be the longest CBA for match officials in MLS history.

During the lockout players and managers have expressed frustration with the quality of the replacement referees. A red card given to Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Marco Delgado during their match against Inter Miami, was eventually rescinded, fpr examplem and friction was growing across the league.

Head coach Laurent Courtois spoke about the difference in officiating during CF Montreal’s match against the Chicago Fire.

“22 added minutes, red card on the (Chicago) GK that isn’t given… Third goal came from a corner that shouldn’t have been, first goal was offside…Something was taken away from my guys.” Courtois said following the loss to the Fire.

‘We want those experienced refs back, Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said after their draw with the Colorado Rapids where Josh Atencio was dismissed with a red card.

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Both players and coaches have been clear about their desire for the return of the standard match officials and now they have it.

“Major League Soccer has some of the best match officials in the world, and PRO’s new CBA with PSRA recognizes that by committing substantial resources to the referee program — an investment that ranks among the highest for any global soccer league,” MLS Executive Vice President of Sporting Product & Competition Nelson Rodriguez said in a statement. “We’re pleased this agreement provides PRO with a strong, long-term partnership to continue to develop and train the referees to make our officiating even better.”

PSRA also issued a statement:

“We thank the hundreds of individuals in the U.S. and Canada who stood in solidarity with us showing their strength and professionalism. Standing strong with each other, we have been buoyed by the support of players, fans, supporters, clubs, and other unionized work groups during our employer-imposed lockout. Together, we have won much needed improvements while demonstrating the value of having the best referees in Major League Soccer on the pitch.”

According to The Athletic, the new agreement will see a 68% increase of base pay with further increases during the agreement. There will also be further increases in match fees including a minimum of 15 match fees being granted to officials to help provide protection in case of injury.

The post MLS referee lockout officially ends: League agrees to seven-year CBA with PRO and PRSA, lasting through 2030 first appeared on CBS Sports.

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