What is the most common subject on blogs and posts week after week? The answer is: MLS referees and how bad they are. How they cost someone a game, how they are so inconsistent, blah, blah, blah.
The players know they are bad, the coaches know they are bad, the League knows they are bad. And of coarse the fans know how bad they are. And the league does nothing about it except fine players and coaches for stating the obvious truth. I used to think it was a money issue, but since the League had an extra $3 million stashed away in their secret fund to help the financially rich Sounders land Clint Dempsey (which still irritates me and may be the subject of another FanPost in the future), I don't think money is an issue. They have it, they just don't want to spend it. The League claims the Dempsey deal is a good thing for the League. But apparently the league does not think investing money into officiating is a good investment. I disagree. I think improving the officiating would be a good thing, no, make that a great thing for the league.
So here is my proposal to improve the officiating. I think we need to hire full time referees that are qualified and pay them a decent salary. Where do we find them? Anywhere! Anywhere that has refs that are experienced and want to work here in the good old USA. How do we find the money to pay them? Simple plan. and a little simple math. And it won't cost the league anything.
The league imposes a 50 cent increase on the price of every ticket sold for every game in the MLS for a referee fund. Now don't go crazy about ticket price increases just yet..And yes, I know the league already takes 30% of gate receipts, but this is separate. Hear me out. If the league AVERAGES 19,000 fans a game(taking into consideration Seattle's 40,000) that comes to $9500 a game. $9500 times 17 home games per team = $161,500 Times 19 teams in the league = $3,068,500. I think with $3 million we can convince some good referees to come here and be paid a generous salary. And the League will not have to dip into their secret fund. If we hired 25 referees, they would have an average salary of $122,740. Do refs in Europe and South America make that much? If the league averages a little less than 19,000 a game, that fund will be a little less, but still enough to get enough refs in to improve the quality of officiating.
Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I would be glad to pay an extra $20 per season ticket knowing that there will be good officiating at RSL games. Because every time we go to an MLS game now, we expect a bad call during the game that could impact the result and cost our team points, or a trophy, or maybe a playoff position. And expecting that kind of officiating every week is really sad, Really, really sad.