The pressure on Premier League referees is immense. Tens of millions around the world are judging their every decision, with hours of TV dedicated to dissecting the controversial calls which can swing football odds.
Despite the scrutiny, despite the vitriol which can be fired in their direction, hoards of people are still looking for how to become a football referee. It isn’t for everyone, of course, and just as with players, only a select group of aspiring referees make it to the top level.
How Much Do Premier League Referees Make?
While the salaries for referees are miles short of the highest-paid Premier League players, the salaries are still considerably higher than the average salary in the UK.
VAR has altered the role of referees, though instead of easing the criticism, it has increased the expectation that every decision is spot on. Let’s learn more about Premier League referee salaries…
Average Premier League Referee Wage:
According to various online sources, the average Premier League referee wage is £40,000 per year.
The amount each referee receives depends on experience, pedigree and the number of matches they take charge of.
Referees who take charge of FIFA and UEFA fixtures will inevitably receive a higher salary, meaning the highest-paid Premier League referees like Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor can be on anywhere up to £200,000 per year.
In the Premier League, referees receive an additional £1,150 for each fixture. As a result, they can amass a salary of £70,000 by combining their base income with the potential additional earnings throughout a season.
If officials drop down to the Championship, they are paid £600 per match. Naturally, there is no exact sum for referee salaries in English football, with each referee earning a different amount depending on the number of matches they are assigned.
Premier League Ref Wage By Role:
Retainers vary depending on the role of Premier League officials. Those hired as ‘official referees’ will generally see a retainer in the £70,000 region.
Others are considered assistant or VAR referees, which carries a retainer around the £30,000 mark with a £850 fee per match.
Even the Premier League referees receiving the maximum possible salaries, including their commitments for continental and international competitions, earn considerably less than the players atop the League One salaries list.
Premier League Female Referees Salaries:
Sian Massey-Ellis and Natalie Aspinall are the only two female Premier League referees as of 2023.
Massey-Ellis has amassed a decade of experience as an assistant referee, while Aspinall became just the third woman to officiate a Premier League match in 2022. Both were among the English referees sent to the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Assistant referees reportedly receive a £30,000 salary with a £850 additional payment for each match they are assigned. This is what Aspinall and Massey-Ellis will be on for the 2023-24 campaign.
In 2020, official figures from the FA indicated a 72% increase in the number of female referees in England. The 2022 Men’s World Cup also made history as female referees officiated matches for the first time ever.
The salaries of the highest-paid female footballers remain a long way off the biggest stars in the men’s game, but Massey-Ellis and Aspinall are rightly paid the same amount as their male counterparts.
Premier League Referee Salary Compared To Other Leagues
It’s not surprising that Champions League matches are much more lucrative than Premier League fixtures.
The elite Champions League referees receive north of £5,500 per match. Officials in the development tier land £3,800 per assignment, which is over treble what referees get for a Premier League fixture.
La Liga - £5,200
Bundesliga - £3,150
Serie A - £3,000
Ligue 1 - £2,400
Primeira Liga - £1,000
While Premier League officials would surely love to see their match fees closer their peers around Europe, it’s important to note how drastically the lifestyle of referees has changed.
At the turn of the century, major changes were made to professionalise refereeing at the highest level. Fitness levels were prioritised, and the levels of training required skyrocketed.
Criticism of officials has continued, of course, but there’s no question the standards for being a topflight referee have increased.
Premier League Referee Salaries 2023:
According to Sporting Free, these are the salaries of some Premier League referees:
Peter Bankes - £48,000
David Coote - £48,000
Graham Scott - £48,000
Craig Pawson - £48,000
Chris Kavanagh - £70,000
Stuart Attwell - £70,000
Paul Tierney - £70,000
Michael Oliver - £200,000
Anthony Taylor - £200,000
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Dave Thompson / AP Photo*