One of the biggest questions football fans (all around the world) have is how much does a football referee earns in the European league? Well, a good salary indeed, technically and on paper, being or not a professional is kind of a big deal there.  In fact, we’re going to use Spain’s salary as a reference for the whole European block, this is the situation there.

A Santander League or first division referee earns €3.685 per match, €1.544 is earned by the line referees and €903 for the fourth official. In the second division, payment isn’t half bad but it is considerably small compared to their first division peers.  On this matter, the salaries are divided into:  €1.621 for the main referee, €731 for his assistants and €571 for the fourth official.

But, referees earn even if they don’t “referee”

Asides from their payment per match, those first division officials receive ten monthly payments of around €11.000, whether they actually referee or not, and the assistants, around €5.000 with their ten monthly payments. As for those referees and assistants in the second division, these payments are €6.000 for the main referees and €2.727 for the assistants. Aside from these payments, we have to add that these referees (both main and assistants) are fed by the association and they also receive money for ads, such as Wurth, that they have on their arms.

Each official referees around 20 matches per season, so a first division referee earns around €180.000 to €200.000 per season while a second division one earns from €90.000 to €100.000.  These numbers are quite far from their peers (from division to division), although many of these officials feel comfortable with their salaries, and scaling from second to first division is not as common as one might think.

Women’s Soccer Referees

Referee Bibiana Steinhaus, left, speaks to a player during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and SV Werder Bremen in Berlin.

When it comes to Women’s leagues, even in their first division, things change quite drastically. Sometimes it even feels like we’re talking about a totally different sport, in both cases (first and second divisions), a male or female official, earns €167 per match and only €80 for assistants, together with a meal bonus of €78,13 if the match is played further than 100km from their place of origin.

In third division, a referee earns €121 and €56 goes to the assistants, aside from the €42,07 transportation bonus (if the referee travels overnight) and two €78,13 meal bonuses, a number that is very behind their male counterparts on the Spanish soccer leagues, even though female soccer is gaining more and more interest among audiences.

This salary gap between male and female referees extends to the whole football association. Even female players are earning but a small fraction of what a male professional football player makes per game, per season and per year.  But we hope these breaches start diminishing and eventually disappears, from all the aspects of our beloved sport.