Walton to retire from EPL to head US refs group


NEW YORK (AP) -- Referee Peter Walton is retiring from England's Premier League to become general manager of the new organization for managing professional soccer officials in the United States and Canada.

Walton, a Premier League referee since the 2003-04 season, will start work at the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) on April 2 and be based in New York through the end of the Major League Soccer season this fall.

The U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS said Tuesday they will run and fund the organization with support from the Canadian Soccer Association and other professional leagues. PRO will manage officials for the MLS and its reserve teams, the North American Soccer League, USL PRO and the U.S. Open Cup.

The 52-year-old Walton refereed Manchester United's penalty-kicks victory over Portsmouth in the 2008 Community Shield.