We see them running around the field, eyes fixated on the players and the ball, ready to whip out their whistle and call players out on their fouls – who are we talking about? Referees, of course! These are the people who implement the football laws, ensuring that fair play ensues and protecting the players from injuries caused by negligence. And sometimes, punters are unhappy with the referees when the outcomes are not in their favor. They sulk and glare at the referees, wondering why the odds are stacked against them. And at others, the red or yellow cards in their opponents’ faces excite them, prompting them to place live bets on these sports betting websites. Love them or hate them, referees uphold the football laws, ensuring order. But have you ever stopped to think about the compensation they get for their hard work? How much do they take home?
How Much Do Premier League Referees Earn?
Referees suffer a great deal of backlash – from players, coaches, fans, etc. It seems that no matter what they do, they are sure to make someone angry. Their work is anything but easy. So, what do they get from it? Of course, the pay scale depends on the importance of the match. We will focus on the Premier League, a tournament that has punters’ eyes glued to their screens. Every minute of these matches is documented and discussed in social media, the news, podcasts, blogs, etc. And at the middle of it all? – the referee!
And sometimes, things get heated, and fans call for the replacement of these referees. Graham Scott was the focus of this season’s backlash, with some people claiming that he did not have what it takes to be an elite referee. The list of referees who have been through the same is quite extensive. So, again, we ask, how much do they get to endure this push from external forces?
Well, they have a pretty good reason to take in all the negative backlash. 2022 statistics show that a Premier League referee enjoys an annual retainer of anything between £38,500 to £42,000. And that’s not all. They also get to take home about £1,500 for each match. So, when you add the extra bonuses, they can make anything from £70,000 to £200,000. It’s easy to see why anyone would brave the fans and players. After all, that’s a tidy sum of money, and if put into good use, it can set one up for life.
How different is it from what the average person makes? If we take the average annual salary in the UK, we can assume that the average person takes home about £25,000 a year. Using the lower end of the referee pay scale (£70,000), the difference amounts to a whopping £45,000. That’s almost enough to cover two years’ worth of the average annual salary. Thus, referees do pretty well for themselves.
Below are some examples of referee salaries:
- Martin Atkinson: This 49-year-old referee is on the upper scale of the salary paytable. He has officiated 413 matches to date and boasts a great deal of experience. His current salary ranks at £200,000!
- Kelvin Friend: Kelvin has officiated 232 matches and is 49 years old. He takes home the base salary of £70,000.
- Graham Scott: This referee has faced quite a lot of criticism and has officiated 70 matches to date. He is 52 and takes home £48,000.
Did you know that referees in the Champions League can take home as much as £7,500 a match? So, if you thought that Martin Atkinson’s salary was high, imagine if we had used the Champions League paytable!
How Much Do Premier League Assistant Referees Earn?
Assistants are also not doing badly off. On average, they enjoy an annual retainer of £30,000. That is exclusive of the £850 they take home per match. Assuming bonuses and a retainer, they can take about £50,000 home a year. Again, that is twice what the average person takes home in one year. Can you see why this is such a lucrative deal? No wonder people fight to retain their jobs despite the criticism.
Video assistant referees also do pretty well for themselves. They take home a similar retainer and earn £850 for each match. So, you can see that they can also set themselves up for a comfortable future.
See? Being a referee is worth the criticism you get from fans, players, coaches, and other stakeholders. And if you want to get in on this lucrative job, you also have the chance. You need to complete referee courses and move from being a trainee to training in the amateur leagues. You can eventually make your way to the top leagues. But if this is not the career for you, sticking to cheering on your favorite team and placing wagers also works. Some punters earn more than elite referees in a year!