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Referees locked out, Replacements announced

As the referees' union and PRO (acting on behalf of MLS, USSF & CSA) attempt their first ever collective bargaining agreement PRO today declared a lockout. No longer will Mark Geiger referee Saturday's match. The new referee is Alan Kelly.

Will you be missed?
Will you be missed?

Officiating is in a constant state of criticism, and in a near constant state of attempted improvements. One of those improvement was the founding of PRO a few years ago. Recently the referees started the process of forming a union and collectively bargaining for some more money, more benefits and refinements to how discipline is handed down. Those two sides could not reach an agreement to prevent a strike/lockout. Major League Soccer is assuring that the matches Saturday continue, but in so doing locked out the 80 or so members of the PRSA (the union) and brought in replacements/scabs.

The new crew for the Seattle Sounders FC v Sporting Kansas City match are;

Alan Kelly, former FIFA Ireland. Currently lives in the United States.
Dimitar Chadarav - MLS Reserve, NWSL
Kyle Longville - MLS Preseason

MLS is touting Kelly's experience in their statement on the replacements. Five UEFA World Cup Qualifiers and three Champions League matches indicates a high level of experience.

But remember, Mark Geiger is going to the World Cup. He went to the Olympics. He worked the Club World Cup. He is the best active referee in America.

Replacement refs could call a game that is much looser. They may not be able to keep up with the pace of play. These scabs could also call a game that is much more strict. Matches could end short players or light on defense with high scores.

Kelly looks to prefer to call tight games. His time in the Premier Division in Ireland is marked by many cards.

Regardless of how the match is called the players seem most concerned about safety.

Those concerns are being echoed by many players. The other concern, sitting in the back of their minds, is that their CBA is up at the end of the year.

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