Former Premier League referee, Peter Walton, has been snapped up the MLS, in order to improve the refereeing standards in the USA and Canada.
The 52-year old only stopped officiating in one of the most testing and high-profile leagues in Europe last season, immediately taking up an offer from the MLS to act as their new referee maestro.
Last March saw the MLS and U.S. Soccer announce the creation of the Professional Referee Organisation (PRO), tasked with improving all areas of soccer officiating, as well as introducing a new wave of younger referees into the game.
Walton will oversee the development of the organisation, bringing a host of top flight experience with him, gathered over a career spanning nearly 20 years in the English leagues.
Walton has admitted that there is plenty of work to do to get the level of refereeing in the MLS up to the same level as it is in the Premier League, highlighting the fact that player-referee relations need to be built, in order for games to run smoothly.
This is a method used in England, with officials trying to work with club captains to maintain control of matches, rather than the headmaster-style approach previously adopted.
"It's imperative referees in MLS culture start building relationships with players and coaches. I have learned so much by spending time with them outside of the pressure cooker of match day, and that is something I need to introduce here,” admitted Walton.
“Refs must recognize when the center half and forward are not getting on well or spot the little midfielder — there’s one in every game — who wants to ref the match for you.”
MLS’ bad boys better watch out. There’s a new sheriff in town.
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