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MLS Statement on Match Officials 

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NEW YORK (February 17, 2024) – Earlier this week, representatives of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) and Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) reached a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement that included the largest compensation increase in PRO referee CBA history, representing a 25 percent overall increase over 2023 when comparing salaries, game fees, benefits, plus the addition of business class travel for certain matches. The agreement would have made PRO members among the highest paid soccer match officials in the world 

Despite having an agreement with PSRA’s elected leadership, this morning PSRA’s membership, which consists of match officials, voted down the Collective Bargaining Agreement. PRO has informed MLS that it is locking out the match officials as of 12:01 am on February 18.

Major League Soccer Executive Vice President of Sporting Product & Competition Nelson Rodríguez today issued the following statement:

“It's extremely disappointing that the officials have voted against the tentative agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement reached by the Professional Soccer Referees Association and the Professional Referee Organization,” Rodríguez said. “PRO worked for months and addressed all the issues that were raised by PSRA’s bargaining unit. It is also unfortunate that the PSRA rejected PRO’s offer for a mutual no strike - no lockout commitment, which would have allowed all match officials to continue working during ongoing negotiations.  

“PRO has informed us of its contingency plan for the upcoming MLS season, which includes utilizing experienced professional match referees supported by veteran VAR officials. We are confident in the comprehensive plan they have put in place.”