Referees for the 2014 World Cup are paid $50,000 a piece for the entire tournament. What’s more interesting is that there are only 25 of them (chosen from thousands worldwide), and they have no set schedule. All they know is that they are guaranteed 1 game. If they do well, they may get another game. If they do poorly, they will almost surely be sent home on the next available flight.
FIFA doesn’t want referees to be the the center of discussion, so only the best referees will be given a chance to officiate more than one game. And only the very best officials will be given the opportunity to officiate the World Cup final.
Refereeing soccer is a thankless job, where there are few benefits and the only time one is recognized is when they make a bad call. A referee should never be the focus of any game, so a good referee should be almost unnoticeable.
Referees in Europe make anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 ANNUALLY. English Premier League referees receive around $2,000 per game they officiate, which equals $50k to $70k. Professional referees in the United States’ Major League Soccer earn a salary based on their level of experience.
- Level four is the most experienced and earn a total of $875 per game, while assistant referees make $495 a game. 4th officials make $285 a game.
- Level three referees are paid $775 per game, assistant referees earn $360, and 4th officials make $260 a game.
- Level two referees earn $679, $310, and $230 per game.
- Level one is paid $565, $255, and $205 per game.
Most MLS referees work full time as match officials, supplementing their MLS duties and income with other leagues and tournaments.
USA Referee Mark Geiger
MLS referee Mark Geiger was a full time math teacher and part-time referee until he went to work for Major League soccer. At 39 years old, Geiger will go to his first World Cup in his seventh year on FIFA’s international list of officials approved for national team matches.
The mandatory retirement age for FIFA officials is 45.