Major League Soccer
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Walton: "a long-term building process"

PRO General Manager Peter Walton has warned fans not to expect an instant improvement in officiating, stating his aim is to lay the foundations for a long-term building process.

Walton told MLS ExtraTime Radio: "This is not something I'm coming in to turn a light switch on and everything happens over night.

"I'm going to put some foundations in place, I've got to look at some career structuring, I've got to look at succession planning and ultimately the aim, of course, is too have a streamline of world-class referees officiating at our top levels."

Walton went on to praise the current standard of officiating in North America and claimed only minor changes are required to ensure the standard of refereeing runs at the same speed as the development of the playing standard.

"I think the referees we've got in North America are very good,” he added, “I think the competitive nature of our leagues are very good as well and what I'm intending to do is match-up the referee abilities to that of the playing side.

"We can see great strides being taken with the league and with the infrastructure, with the players and I must make sure our referees are running parallel to that so we advance at the same pace and there isn't a gap developing or developed.

When asked about the challenge ahead, Walton stated: "With a few tweaks and a few little educational activities in place I don't see my challenge to be that great."

"That won't happen overnight and I'll make sure we have some changes in place for next season that will be tangible and building on those I hope people's expectations are tempered a little bit but they will see some subtle changes happening hopefully for the betterment of the game in North America."

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