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Referee seen on social media wearing Inter Miami jersey removed from match

Guilherme Ceretta replaced hours before Inter Miami's 5-0 rout of Orlando City
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi celebrates with midfielder Diego Gomez and forward Luis Suarez after scoring his side's fifth goal during second half of match, March 2, 2024
Posted at 9:16 PM, Mar 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-02 21:21:13-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Guilherme Ceretta was removed as center referee of the Inter Miami-Orlando City match Saturday after photos of Ceretta on social media created a possible conflict.

The Professional Referee Organization replaced Ceretta with fourth official Jaime Herrera hours before the start of Inter Miami's 5-0 victory. The photos that prompted the late removal featured Ceretta wearing Inter Miami apparel.

Referee Jaime Herrera raises yellow card to Inter Miami midfielder Diego Gomez after he fouled Orlando City midfielder Cesar Araujo during second half, March 2, 2024
Referee Jaime Herrera raises a yellow card to Inter Miami midfielder Diego Gomez, upper left, after he fouled Orlando City midfielder Cesar Araujo, bottom, during the second half Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Pictures of Ceretta wearing an Inter Miami jersey were first revealed on an X account called MLS Referee Stats.

Replacement officials have worked the first three weeks of Major League Soccer matches after the league and the Professional Soccer Referees Association could not reach a collective bargaining agreement. With the lockout ongoing, the Professional Referee Organization was handling officials' assignments for the league.

The replacement pool used during the work stoppage features retired officials as well as referees who work in third and fourth divisions.

Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi scored two goals in the rout.