Lionel Messi and MLS will kick off season with replacement referees : NPR

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The Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) has rejected a contract offer, leading to a lockout of unionized match officials and the use of non-unionized replacements for the upcoming Major League Soccer (MLS) season. Nearly 96% of PSRA members voted against the bargaining agreement proposed by the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). The tentative five-year contract reportedly offered a 25% increase in overall compensation via higher salaries, retainers, game fees, and other benefits. However, the PSRA argued that the offer failed to adequately address certain quality-of-life issues and did not offer fair compensation, considering the growing demands on officials due to the league’s record growth, helped by Lionel Messi’s signing with Inter Miami.

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