By Kurtis Larson (Toronto Sun)
The abuse MLS officials deal with on a regular basis has reached “inappropriate” levels.
And the commissioner Don Garber thinks it’s time to take action.
“Our officials are a lot better than people give them credit for,” Garber told the Toronto Sun. “We track it. That’s not just my opinion. I attended a game with someone at Red Bull Arena. That person spent the entire game complaining about the officiating. Happened to be a Red Bull fan. They didn’t like the outcome. Ultimately, though, [referee Baldomero] Toledo had a very good game. He didn’t make many mistakes. No official is perfect. He controlled the game. I thought it was well done.
“Yet, the social chatter and criticism was massive. I understand why that is. There’s a development gap between the knowledge of our fan base and, in some cases, our broadcasters and the way the game has developed.”
Garber hinted there could be stricter consequences if referee abuse doesn’t subside in 2016.
“There’s a level of vitriol that I think exists with officiating in our league and many other leagues that is unfortunate,” Garber added. “These are guys who believe in the sport and are working full-time in our league. I think they deserve to be respected more than they are. I know that’s a controversial thing to say. That’s not just our fans, it’s the players and coaches, as well. It’s something we’re going to be looking at in the off-season because it’s really unacceptable.
“We need to do the same thing with mass confrontation and sideline behavior. In order to do that, we all need to commit to changing our behaviour. If you’re not going to change it, then we’re going to force you to.”