Football is a game played by players, but controlled by the referees. Being at the centre of the action means the men with the whistle come under scrutiny with every decision they make on the field. Referees are, however, very rarely in the limelight when it comes to their salaries.
With the Fifa World Cup in Russia just two months away, Fifa has assembled their team of top refs who will be managing all 64 games of the tournament. According to Marca, a total of 36 referees and 63 assistant referees will be present.
Now, all referees are not the same. In a football game you get the main ref, who controls the match on the pitch, two assistant referees (formerly called linesman) who monitor the touchlines as well as the action on the field (such as offsides), and a third and fourth official who deal with substitutions, and an extra official on standby.
Referees fall into different categories according to their experience and their career progression, and just like players, there are top referees who earn way more than their colleagues.
Here is a look at how much the top referees will be paid and how it works:
Felix Brych (Germany), Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey) and Nestor Pitana (Argentina), who are reported to be the top referees at the tournament, will be paid 57,000 euros (~R840,000) – almost a million rands for the whole tournament!
On top of that, there will be an additional 2,500 euros (~R37,000) paid for each game refereed. Assistant referees (linesmen, third and fourth officials) will be paid 20,000 euros (~R295,000), plus an additional 1,600 euros per game (~R23,600.