- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal mediator has entered talks involving locked out Major League Soccer referees.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said Friday that acting director Scot L. Beckenbaugh and Jack Sweeney, its director of mediation services for the northeast sub-region, had held several lengthy sessions with the Professional Referee Organization and the Professional Soccer Referees Association.

PRO, which manages on-field officials for Major League Soccer, locked out the game officials on March 7 and used replacements for openers last weekend. The officials formed a union last year, and the sides have not agreed to a contract.