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Replacement Refs To Be Used For MLS' Opening Weekend

Colorado won't be playing to see it, but MLS will be using replacement referees for at least the first weekend of the season.

Harry How

One of the less talked about stories of this off-season was the battle between the Referees' Union and MLS, which has continued for so long that the refs aren't going to be taking the field for the first games of the MLS season this weekend. Instead, we're going to be seeing a batch of replacement referees taking the field for the first weekend, and unless there is any progress, probably longer than that.

PRO has released their list for the weekend, and it's a veritable 'who's that' of refs. Some former Greek guys, some Purto Ricans and at least one NASL referee. As someone who currently lives in an NASL town and has watched NASL games for the past year, let me tell you that there are plenty of ways that MLS refereeing could get worse.

Actually, that goes for all of them. Anyone who is using the opportunity to talk about how the game will surely be improved by the replacement referees, I'd like to remind you of the relentless taunting that NFL referees took and the claims that even replacements would be better... right up until stuff like this started happening. MLS referees aren't particularly great at what they do -- let's not pretend that there are any referees in the game of soccer who are incredible mediators of the game worldwide -- but they're the best we have available.

Fortunately, Colorado won't be playing this weekend so we don't have to witness the immediate levels of carnage first-hand.