There are over 50 professional snooker referees, including the likes of Jan Verhaas, Tatiana Woollaston and Paul Collier
Senior snooker referees earn a base salary of $25,000 per season
Top male snooker referees can earn up to $250,000 per year while female snooker referees can earn close to $175,000
It isn’t an easy journey to become a famous snooker referee. Years of work is required before appearing in the premium sports betting events, learning and perfecting the science of snooker officiating prior to any opportunity at The Crucible.
Not every young snooker fan will aspire to referee at the highest level. Of course, enforcing the rules in any sport comes with pressure, scrutiny, and often some awkward situations.
Snooker in-play betting odds can swing on a poor decision, and you can find yourself dealing with some riled up players on occasion.
So, let’s learn a bit more about the role, qualifications and salaries of snooker referees.
What Does A Snooker Referee Do?
Snooker referees might not have to deal with the confrontation which is frequent in physical sports like rugby or football but their role is still vital.
They make sure each frame and match is played following the rules. Certain regulations can vary from tournament to tournament - it is important that the referees keep up to date.
An eye for detail is vital. While maintaining fairness and integrity throughout, snooker referees are encouraged to keep the pace of each frame at a decent level.
It is a sport of tactics, tension and calm, yet snooker is often pondering if the sport needs to be sped up. Referees should have a minor role in proceedings, with their interventions being subtler than their brasher peers in other sports.
At times, snooker referees will be forced to make big calls. These can be significant in high-stakes tournament play, leading to the occasional disagreement between players and officials.
How Much Do Snooker Referees Get Paid?
There is considerable flexibility when it comes to how much snooker referees get paid. A figure of £70 per match has been quoted for some tournaments in the past, but there can be significantly smaller sums for local tournaments.
Naturally, the amount snooker referees get paid depends on the event’s revenue and the experience of the referee. The highest-profile officials will have a base rate, functioning much like a retainer, along with a figure agreed per match.
At the higher levels, some take on snooker refereeing as a full-time occupation. World Snooker will cover expenses for travel, food and accommodation for big events, which supplements their salary and earnings per match.
World Snooker Referees:
With all exams passed and the necessary experience accumulated, snooker referees can oversee official ranking events.
Not only do these matches impact the world rankings, they also carry significant prize money and can make or break careers. The pressure, as a result, is sky high for the referees.
Paul Collier, Olivier Marteel and Marcel Eckardt are three of the most famous snooker referees in the world. Between them, they have overseen the last three world finals.
Of active officials, Jan Verhaas has the most experience on the biggest stage, refereeing six world finals throughout his illustrious career.
Ascendant referees are always looking to make their names on the biggest stages. In truth, the most successful snooker referees are seldom recognisable, but keep the game ticking over while remaining even-tempered.
Verhaas, for instance, has professionally dealt with some awkward circumstances involving star players and chatty crowd members in the past.
Female Snooker Referees:
Female snooker referees have not always been prevalent in the men’s game.
The World Women’s Snooker Championship has been running since 1976, but it is only in recent years that significant progress has been made towards equality among snooker referees.
Described as a trail blazer, and a well-known face to snooker fans worldwide, Michaela Tabb has been among the world’s best snooker referees for over a decade-and-a-half.
Tabb has cleared a path for others, including Tatiana Woollaston and Desislava Bozhilova.
Tabb, however, remains the only woman to oversee a World Championship final after refereeing John Higgins’ 2009 win and Ronnie O’Sullivan’s triumph three years later.
Since Tabb broke into a male-dominated role, a generation of female snooker referees have emerged across the world.
Malgorzata Kanieska, Maike Kesseler, Proletina Velichkova and Monika Sułkowska are just a few to have taken the responsibility of refereeing at tour events.
Bozhilova is reportedly the highest-paid female snooker referee at the time of writing.
Snooker Referees Salary:
The salary of snooker referees at the professional level is a base rate of roughly £20,000.
Those refereeing women’s snooker have a lower base rate, but these figures are added to throughout the season with fees per match. Expenses are covered.
Those refereeing the biggest matches can receive over £500 per fixture, which racks up over a lengthy tournament like the World Championships.
Entry level referees have a base salary of roughly £4,000, and will be looking at around £50 per match when they are starting out.
Snooker referees do not have wealth comparable to the game’s stars like Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Selby, yet the most accomplished will be on a more than comfortable salary throughout the course of a busy season.
Some outlets claim the highest-paid snooker referees have a salary in the region of £200,000, though this is not widely reported.
Much like officials in other sports, exact figures for the salary of individual snooker referees are hard to come by.
*Credit for all of the images in this article belongs to AP Photo*