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MLS Players Association wants an end of referees’ lockout
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The players are against using substitute referees

The Major League Soccer Players Association has called for a swift resolution to the referees’ lockout in the league and warned that the use of underprepared substitute referees during the ongoing labor dispute could jeopardize the players’ health.

Unless there is a sudden resolution to the issues, the opening match of the 2024 season between Lionel Messi-led Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake City tonight is likely to be affected. The remaining fixtures of the first round will be played on Friday.

“On the eve of the championship, the focus should be on what will happen on the field. Using substitute referees with lower qualifications will only negatively impact the level of the matches and may also jeopardize the health and safety of the players,” said the statement from the Players Association.

According to them, the use of substitute referees is a step backward for the development of MLS and football in North America. They emphasized that according to American values, all workers deserve fair pay, safe working conditions, and the opportunity for voluntary collective bargaining. They also believe that all stakeholders need to return to the negotiating table and work towards a fair resolution.