USSF Suspends Three Referees

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 | View Comments
Courtesy of Stephen Goff of Soccer Insider comes word that the US Soccer Federation has suspended three referees for the remainder of the 2009 MLS season.

Former Referee of the Year Jair Murrufo, he of the two match suspension early in the year when he accepted a Cuauhtemoc Blanco jersey after officiating a Chicago Fire-Columbus Crew match, has been sidelined for "poor performances" over the course of the season.

Michael Kennedy and Abby Okulaja have also been removed from action, though their suspensions have been put down to failed fitness tests rather than bad refereeing.

Maruffo's suspension is the most interesting of the bunch for obvious reasons, as it's finally some acknoledgment by US Soccer that the referees here aren't living up to standards. Whether we'll see any actual improvement in the area is more down to continuing efforts to train referees properly, but Murrufo's suspension indicates that the problem is recognized and that the powers that be are not going to sit on their hands.

While the reasoning is different, the removal of Kennedy and Okulaja, neither of whom have officiated a game this month, could be "addition by subtraction". Fans may think that those two should have been suspended for the same reasons that Marrufo was removed, but the details matter less because the effect is the same.

What do you make of the suspensions? Do you believe that USSF is actively working to fix the refereeing issues we all seem to believe exists?
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