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Peter Walton highlights PRO's key initiatives for 2014

Mar 6, 2014

General Manager of the Professional Referee Organization, Peter Walton, has outlined PRO's key initiatives for 2014.

After a disrupted start to the season, PRO officials are back on the field and have begun enforcing the new aims set by the Organization during the close-season.

Walton has revealed the Organization is focussed on driving improvements in North American soccer through PRO officials, with a particular emphasis on the maintaining the intensity of matches.

The General Manager told “We have many initiatives for PRO this year but first and foremost we're looking at the part officials can play in making games flow better.

“When I looked at matches last year over a period of time I felt they were sometimes very stop-start. The goalkeepers were holding the ball for too long, and set-plays were taking too long – we want all those delays to be reduced to keep the momentum going. 

“We're also looking at the holding, shoving, pushing and blocking that happens in the penalty area, particularly from corner kicks and free-kicks. 

“I understand that ‘man marking’ is part of the game, but we really ought to be punishing the players who prevent their opponent from challenging for the ball or moving into positions. 

“Off the field, we're looking into enhancing the bespoke training given to our assistant referees. The ARs are a key part of the PRO officiating teams so more emphasis is being placed on them.”

Helping with the delivery of PRO's initiatives this season is Brian Hall, who joined the support staff during preseason.

Walton added: “I felt there needed to be a conduit between the professional and amateur games in relation to succession planning and Brian’s past experience with USSF and CONCACAF fitted the role perfectly.  

“We now have a very diverse set of support staff and an Organization that will propel us towards our company vision."

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