Coming on the heels of the announcement that MLS was creating a formalized process from teams to have red cards reviewed, the league unveiled another layer of referee oversight on Tuesday with the announcement of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). The organization is a joint effort between MLS and the U.S. Soccer Federation and will oversee all of the professional leagues in the United States and Canada.
While the red-card review is arguably more about perception, this move looks to have a bit more teeth. The program promises to help allow for the hiring of more full-time referees and creates a more formalized training process.
All of this is clearly a step in the right direction. Of course, the question remains will any of it prove effective?
Referees make for easy scapegoats, but in MLS they have been far too much of a focus. Too often, they are the central part of the story, rather than fading into the background. The hope is that, in a sense, we don't notice a lot of these changes as that would be proof they are working.