Replacement referees will be used for the first fixtures of the MLS tomorrow after negotiations between two refereeing bodies collapsed.

The Professional Soccer Referees of America (PSRA) were locked out by the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) after the two groups failed to come to an agreement, according to PRO General Manager Peter Walton.

“Since they will not give us a guarantee they will not go on strike immediately prior to our matches, we are left in a position where we must use replacement officials to ensure that the MLS games are played as scheduled this weekend.”

The PSRA, who normally take control of MLS matches, were frozen out less than 24 hours before the start of the season. But Walton insisted that PRO offered alternatives and tried their best to avoid this situation.

“We had suggested a no strike/no lockout agreement for a reasonable period in an effort to keep the negotiations going but that was rejected by the PSRA.”

Until a deal is reached it is unsure how long replacement referees will be used for, but the PRO have reassured teams and fans that all of them are fully qualified.

The replacement referees are made up of former MLS officials, FIFA officials as well as other professionals officials from other leagues.

All replacement referees have also attended a pre-season training camp last week to ensure they are ready for the season.

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