How much does a football referee earn? Salary of a football referee

The role of a football referee is critical in the world of football. They are responsible for enforcing the rules of the game, ensuring fair play, and maintaining the flow of the match. But one question that often arises is: How much does a football referee earn? The answer varies widely based on the level of competition, the location, and the experience of the referee.

Professional Leagues

  • Top-tier Leagues: In high-profile leagues like the English Premier League, La Liga, or the Bundesliga, referees can earn significant salaries. For example, Premier League referees can earn a base salary plus match fees, which can total a substantial annual income.
  • Match Fees: Apart from the base salary, referees typically receive a fee per match. In top leagues, this fee can be quite lucrative.

International Matches

  • FIFA and UEFA Competitions: Referees who officiate international matches under FIFA or UEFA can expect higher match fees. These are often supplemented by allowances for travel and accommodation.
  • Tournaments: For international tournaments like the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA Champions League, referees are compensated with a fixed fee for the tournament plus payments for each match officiated.

Lower Leagues and Semi-Professional Football

  • Lower Leagues: In lower professional or semi-professional leagues, the pay is considerably less. Referees in these leagues often have other full-time jobs and referee as a part-time profession.
  • Per Match Payment: The payment structure is typically on a per-match basis, which varies depending on the league and country.

Youth and Amateur Football

  • Grassroots Level: At the youth and amateur levels, referees are often paid a small fee per game. This level is usually where most referees start their careers.
  • Part-time Income: The earnings at this level are generally considered a supplement to other forms of income.

Factors Influencing Earnings

  • Experience and Skill Level: More experienced referees who have proven their skills at higher levels of the game generally earn more.
  • Location: Referee earnings can vary significantly from one country to another, reflecting the economic conditions and the popularity of football in that region.

Other Considerations

  • Training and Certification Costs: Referees often have to invest in their own training and certification, which can impact their net earnings.
  • Expenses: Expenses such as travel, equipment, and uniforms may or may not be covered, depending on the league.


The earnings of a football referee can vary widely based on the level of competition and geographical location. While referees in top-tier leagues can earn a comfortable income, those in lower leagues and at the grassroots level often officiate for the love of the game rather than for financial gain. Regardless of the pay, refereeing can be a rewarding and challenging way to be involved in the sport of football.