Major League Soccer will welcome back its own officials this weekend.
The two-week-long lockout of the league’s referees came to an end early Wednesday morning when the union representation of MLS’ officials, The Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) and the Professional Referees Organization (PRO), successfully ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. PSRA legal counsel Lucas Middlebrook confirmed the end of the lockout to the Tribune late Wednesday night, which means MLS officials are set to oversee Week 3 of the 2014 Major League Soccer season.
A release from Steve Taylor, lead negotiator for the PSRA in the CBA negotiations with PRO, was issued early Thursday morning:
"PSRA is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with PRO regarding an historic Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for PSRA Bargaining Unit Members who make up the pool of Full-time and Part-time referees, Assistant Referees, and Fourth Officials working games in Major League Soccer. The agreement was reached at the bargaining table with the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Terms of the CBA are not being released."
The statement said that PSRA’s Negotiation Committee tentatively agreed to terms on the entire CBA Tuesday and the association’s Board of Directors approved it Wednesday. Come Wednesday night, the PSRA Membership ratified the new CBA.
"The ratification of the CBA and acceptance by the PRO Board effectively ends the lockout of PRO/PSRA officials in time to have them take charge of MLS games this coming weekend," the release said.
The replacement MLS referees took charge of officiating the league’s matches on March 7 when the PRO, the referee extension of MLS, levied the lockout. Per Jeff Carlisle of ESPNFC.com, the major issues that were negotiated were payment for games, compensation insurance in case of injury, performance standards and evaluation and travel standards.
Replacement referees officiated the first two weeks of the 2014 MLS season, which included 16 league matches.
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