MLS referees could return to work as soon as this week, report says

MLS has been using replacement officials during the first two weeks of the season.

MLS may have its regularly referees back sooner than later. According to an ESPN report, the referees and the league have reached a tentative deal and the CBA could potentially be ratified in time for this week's games.

MLS has been using replacement referees during the season's first two weeks after locking out union membership who reportedly refused to sign a no-strike clause while negotiations were ongoing.

A federal mediator has been working with the two sides for the last week or so, which has kept much of the debate out of the public.

The replacements have received decidedly mixed reviews, ranging anywhere from easily as good as the permanent officials to clearly over their head. The league has managed to avoid any serious controversies, or at least any bigger than in a normal MLS week.

If signed, this would be the Professional Soccer Referee Association's first CBA since they formed last year. MLS, in conjunction with U.S. Soccer, the USL Pro, the NASL and the Canadian Soccer Association, was formed in 2013 in an attempt to raise the quality of refereeing in North America.

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