04/07/2016 17:14 EDT | Updated 04/08/2017 01:12 EDT

Head of referees' organization says MLS officials are calling letter of the law

TORONTO — The general manager of the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) says the bar has not been raised on serious foul play in Major League Soccer this season.

Peter Walton says his referees are simply calling the letter of the law correctly — and more consistently.

Walton says players and coaches were warned in pre-season, so nobody should be surprised. 

Still officiating and a spate of red cards have been a major talking point after five weeks of the 2016 season.

There have been 16 reds over 42 games. That compares to 14 over the same period last year and 11 the previous season. The average over the league's 21-year history is 12 at this time of the season.

PRO is responsible for managing the referee and assistant referee programs in North American pro soccer.




The Canadian Press