Major League Soccer season is about to get underway — with or without their referees.  Via Soccer by Ives:

Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday that the league has a plan in place to play games if the referee’s union, the Professional Soccer Referee Association (PSRA), fails to reach a deal with the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), the body created by the U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS in 2012 to manage game officials in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues.

MLS Cup - Soccer

The 2010 MLS Cup Final (Image: Nathan Forget)

Sports Illustrated reports that the PSRA has filed a pair of unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the PRO of bad-faith bargaining and making threats against PSRA members. PSRA members voted 64-1 last month to authorize an unfair labor practice strike.

PSRA President Steve Taylor told ESPN that the items still being negotiated include payment for games, compensation insurance in case of injury, performance standards and evaluation, fitness and fitness testing, and travel standards.

”We will be opening up this weekend with referees, and we are absolutely in a position to have a contingency plan in the event that those discussions don’t end positively,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said on Tuesday, as reported by ESPN.  ‘

‘We have so many things that we’re gearing up for with our 2014 season. Nothing is going to stop us from having a strong opening and to continue to grow this league.”