Despite differences with referees' union, PRO expects business as usual for MLS season

MLS officials

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Despite a report from The Washington Post indicating that Major League Soccer referees have yet to reach an agreement on a deal for their first collective bargaining agreement, the head of the referees organization says it will not affect the start of the season next month.

The report released Tuesday quoted Peter Walton, head of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO)  – which oversees officiating in MLS – as saying that his organization and the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), which represents the referees' interests, are "some distance apart" on the economics of their first collective bargaining agreement.

Walton also said in the report, however, that he doesn't think the negotiations will impact the upcoming MLS season, which begins March 8. He echoed that sentiment when contacted for comment by MLSsoccer.com, saying he and PRO "see no reasons why the 2014 season should not kick off with all officials being available."

A spokesperson for MLS declined to comment on the report when contacted by MLSsoccer.com.

“We are still hopeful to reach an agreement before the regular season begins,” Steve Taylor, lead negotiator for the PSRA, is quoted as saying in the report. “We’ve made progress on non-economic issues and we’ve done good work together, but we’re now down to economic issues.”

PRO was formed in 2012 as an independent company responsible for increasing the quality of officiating in MLS and developing more elite-level referees. In addition to representing MLS referees, the PSRA also represents their colleagues in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) and the United Soccer Leagues (USL).