How much can an MLS referee earn

Salaries The professional football referee

Football referees face a grueling and difficult task trying to obey the rules of the game as 22 players battle it out on the field for supremacy. While this is not an easy task, the referees are well compensated for their work. Professional referees in North America earn respectable wages in Major League Soccer, while their European counterparts earn extremely lucrative game fees in their various leagues.

Regular season

As of 2009, referees in MLS will receive a starting salary of $ 565 per game. With experience, that pay increases to $ 875. For assistant referees with 20 or less experience, pay starts at $ 255 per game and increases to $ 495 after more than 76 games. For the fourth official, the entry fee is $ 205 per game, with a maximum of $ 285 per game.


As of 2009, MLS umpires in the playoffs will earn $ 1,000 for the first round, $ 1,200 for the second round, and $ 1,500 for MLS Cup games. Assistant referees in the playoffs earn $ 520 in the first round, rise to $ 525 in the second round, and increase to $ 750 in the MLS Cup. Fourth officials earn $ 350 for round one games, $ 450 for round two games, and $ 600 in the MLS Cup.

Additional payment

In MLS exhibition games, a referee earns $ 185 per game as of 2009. The assistant referee earns $ 135, the junior assistant referee $ 110, and the fourth referee $ 75. Judges receive bonuses based on their assessment. The top five referees will each receive a bonus of $ 1,500, while the top ten assistant referees will receive a bonus of $ 1,000. The referees also receive a daily allowance and accommodation during playoff games.

International referees

The referee earn different fees internationally, with the highest wages among European leagues. As of 2011, English referees earn € 1,170 ($ 1,675) per game, while German referees earn € 3,600 per game ($ 5,153). Italian referees take a respectable € 3,400 (US $ 4,867) per game and French referees to earn € 2,751 (US $ 3,938). Portuguese referees collect a fee of € 1,188 (€ 1,700) per game. Spanish umpires are the highest paid players, making a whopping € 0.66 (€ 857) for a 90 minute game.

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