NEW YORK, N.Y. - Major League Soccer is prepared to start its season this weekend even if there isnt a labour deal with its referees and other on-field officials. The Professional Soccer Referee Association was certified by the National Labor Relations Board last May to represent referees, assistant referees and fourth officials working MLS games. It has not reached an agreement with the Professional Referee Organization, which was created by the U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS in 2012 to manage game officials in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues. The PSRA has filed a pair of unfair labour practice charges with the NLRBs New York office, accusing the PRO of bad-faith bargaining and making threats against PSRA members. PSRA members voted 64-1 last month to authorize an unfair labour practice strike. "We will be opening up this weekend with referees, and we are absolutely in a position to have a contingency plan in the event that those discussions dont end positively," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday. "We have so many things that were gearing up for with our 2014 season. Nothing is going to stop us from having a strong opening and to continue to grow this league." PSRA chairman Steve Taylor said there are economic and non-economic issues. "They have not made significant movement," he said of the PRO. Answering questions from reporters and fans during a season kickoff session, Garber said increasing the leagues television ratings is a priority. Viewers for national television broadcasts during the regular season dropped from an average of 180,000 viewers in 2012 to 170,000 last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. MLS has been negotiating with ESPN and Fox to replace deals with ESPN and NBC that expire at the end of this season. Garber said while quality of play, attendance, soccer-specific stadiums have increased, "our national television ratings have not grown at the same level." "So we need to figure out why thats happening. Obviously, theres a lot more competition than there ever was. Viewers have more alternatives. We need not to fight that but accept it and address it," he said. "Our games have been scheduled all over the week. Its been difficult even if you work in the league office to know what time and what day a game is taking place. So our new agreements will be very, very, very focused in terms of a specific date and time." Garber said progress has slowed on obtaining a new stadium for New York City FC, which joins the league along with Orlando, Fla., in 2015 as MLS expands to 21 teams. "Its tough to get stadium projects done in New York City, perhaps even a little more difficult now than it was maybe six months or a year ago," he said. MLS said in July it plans to reach 24 teams by 2020, and a Miami team has been awarded to former Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham, with no year identified for it to start play. Garber briefly discussed the expansion possibilities of several cities: Atlanta: "Were getting close. There are ongoing discussions. Theres not a rush to finalize something there. ... That time is probably sooner as opposed to later." Austin, Texas, and San Antonio: "Its premature for both markets. ... Expanding in Texas is something thats likely going to happen. Where that happens, when that happens is still to be seen." Cleveland: "There havent been any discussions of late. What I would say to folks that are living in Cincinnati, the folks that are living in Dayton, folks that are living Cleveland, support the Crew," a reference to the Columbus team. Detroit: "There havent been any discussions. Not sure its on the short list, but you never know." Minneapolis: "On the short list. Lots of interest there." North Carolina: "It is a hotbed for soccer. ... Well monitor it. ... Im not sure Carolina is coming any time soon." He also mentioned Sacramento as an expansion possibility. Gemel Smith Jersey
. The midfielder had an operation on Saturday, and is set to miss seven Premier League games, the third round of the FA Cup and the semifinals of the League Cup. Marc Methot Jersey
. - Zac Leslie scored two goals and assisted on two more, and Justin Nichols made 34 saves as the Guelph Storm blanked the Kitchener Rangers 6-0 in Ontario Hockey League action on Sunday. http://www.cheapstarsjerseys.com/?tag=adidas-kari-lehtonen-jersey.com
) - The Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics both entered Wednesday nights game riding lengthy losing streaks. John Klingberg Jersey
.The Canadian teenage golf sensation announced Thursday shell join the LPGA Tour in 2015 instead of attending the University of Florida. Esa Lindell Jersey
. What they did need, the Devils got from Patrik Elias. Elias scored a power-play goal 40 seconds into overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Richie Incognito filed a grievance Thursday against the Miami Dolphins over his suspension. The NFL Players Association released a statement late in the afternoon saying the veteran guard filed a non-injury grievance. "The grievance challenges his suspension for conduct which was alleged to have occurred while he was with the club," the unions statement said. "In the grievance, Incognito requests that the hearing be held on an expedited basis so that he can immediately resume playing for the team. "The NFL Players Association will continue to protect the rights of all players." Incognito was suspended by Miami on Nov. 3 for misconduct related to the treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who abruptly left the Dolphins late last month to receive help for emotional issues. The NFL is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin. Incognito has said the conduct was all part of the normal locker room environment.dddddddddddd ESPN first reported the grievance. Incognito has missed one game, and the suspension by the team can last for four games. The Dolphins, who have not said how long Incognito is suspended, said they do not comment on grievances. Martin is scheduled to meet Friday with Ted Wells, the independent investigator hired by the NFL. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also plans to meet with Martin. A second-year pro, Martin left the team because of what his attorney has alleged was daily harassment by teammates, including Incognito. On Monday, Ross announced the formation of two committees to examine the Dolphins locker room culture. In recent days, players have been virtually unanimous in saying it doesnt need to be changed. The case has inspired a national debate about workplace bullying. ' ' '