Commissioner assures that the MLS is “very prepared” for a referee strike

FORT LAUDERDALE.- Lionel Messi’s first full season in the MLS began with substitute referees on Wednesday, when the Inter Miami They beat Real Salt Lake 2-0.

And commissioner Don Garber acknowledged there is no certainty around the league about what will happen next.

The Professional Soccer Referees Union (PSRA) held protests Wednesday in New York and Dallas, less than a week after the organization overwhelmingly rejected a tentative agreement with the Professional Referees Organization (PRO). which provides whistlers for MLS, NWSL and other leagues.

“In my 40 years in the sport, I can’t remember ever seeing a negotiating unit reach an agreement without its members supporting it,” Garber said. “It’s very disappointing.”

Garber said MLS remains confident that an agreement will be reached. He added that he now wonders whether the pact’s rejection suggests “a disconnect between members and their elected negotiators.”

“It almost seems like this was intentional,” Garber said. “I don’t know how you get to a point where there’s a work stoppage and you don’t know where the disagreement lies. That’s frustrating. I imagine it’s frustrating for the fans. It’s certainly frustrating for us, but we’ll see how this turns out.

“I will tell you that we are very prepared and more than willing to manage this in a way that defends the interests of our players, teams and fans.”

Impact on MLS:

On the same Wednesday, MLS indicated that the labor problem was leading it to postpone the implementation of new rules and procedures on temporary substitutions, treatment of players off the field and plans to make announcements in the stadium about when the VAR used.

The PRO declared a strike on Sunday that prevents union members from working. The PSRA considered that the tentative agreement lacked a sufficient economic package and did not provide the improvements desired by members in terms of quality of life.