The 2024 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, scheduled to begin on February 21 with a game between Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF, could begin without regular county officials.
Members of the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) voted unanimously to approve a possible strike related to negotiations over the new collective bargaining agreement, The Athletic reported Monday.
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The conflict with her employer, the Professional Referees Organization (PRO), is said to have deep roots. The PSRA claims that several of its members were contacted directly by the other camp, without making contact through their leaders. According to a press release from the PSRA, the officers' demands were also deemed “unrealistic” by the PRO.
Therefore, replacement referees may need to be sent to MLS fields during a possible strike. Inter Miami meets Real Salt Lake in the season opener at the DRV PNK Stadium.
PSRA also represents NWSL, USL and MLS Next Pro officials. It has around 250 members.
The last collective agreement was scheduled to expire on January 15th, but was extended until January 31st by a vote of members. After this date, the possibility of a strike like the one in 2014 could become inevitable.