MLS officials have long promised to improve the quality of officiating in the league. Now, they've taken a pretty concrete step in that direction with the announcement that MLS clubs will be allowed two appeals of red cards during the season. While not directly aimed at officiating, per se, it is a sign that the league is taking complaints of particularly egregious red cards into account.
Clubs in #MLS will now have ability to appeal red card decisions. They will have 2 challenges. If they lose appeal, they lose a challenge— Luke Wileman (@LukeWileman) March 1, 2012
In the past, MLS has only reviewed red cards in cases of mistaken identity. This has led to more than a few incidents in which players have been forced to sit out an extra game even though they may not have even committed a foul, let alone one that warranted being kicked out of the game. Obviously, there will still be instances of players being sent off unjustly -- and the appeal would only be after the fact -- but at least the chances of the punishment being compounded are less.
It is also a clear sign that MLS is not willing to blindly support officials' decisions. Officials who regularly have their red cards rescinded will, no doubt, come under even more scrutiny, which can't possibly be a bad thing. The danger here is that for all the positive steps MLS has attempted to make in better protecting players, this could make officials even more wary of handing out red cards.