How Much Can a Soccer Referee Make for a FIFA World Cup?

Making a Living: A Soccer Referee’s Earnings During a FIFA World Cup

Only referees who have earned the highest level of accreditation may officiate in FIFA world cup football matches. Referees are assigned a grade and must improve their status to officiate higher level games in the football world cup. Only Grade 1 referees and linesmen can serve as head referees on formal international contests such as the FIFA cup. The criteria for becoming a referee differ somewhat by competition level; however, all classes require some standardisation through uniformity and specialisation. 

The question is, how much can a soccer referee make from officiating the world championship football? Before we answer that, let’s first discuss the process and requirements of the FIFA world cup referees.

Making the Cut

Only a tiny percentage of the 12,000 referees who took part in the initial qualification round survived the initial process. There are only seven head referees on the FIFA men’s list out of the 80,000 referees in the United States. Referees must not be less than 25 years old and must retire at 45, so they need to progress through the ranks quickly to establish a long-term career with FIFA.

Knowing the game’s rules is only half of the battle for a referee. As a result, upping your game entails more than simply learning new techniques and skills. To move up in position, referees must officiate a certain number of games, take written and fitness tests, and obtain the assessor’s recommendations. Any one of these methods can result in an inability to advance grades if not completed.

You can have a referee who passes the written test with 100 per cent accuracy and completes the physical examination at 99 or 100 per cent, but it’s a whole different story when it comes to the actual game. A referee may know all rules, but they will be ineffective in enforcing the game’s rules without personality or charisma.

Fitness is Essential

Being a referee is tough, and fitness is an essential component. Many people believe that football players endure a lot – they play for 90 minutes without any time-outs, frequent substitutions, or long halftime breaks. They may cover several kilometres every game. 

However, being a referee is far more demanding than playing football. They must anticipate the game’s action and position themselves in such a manner as to make correct judgements. Many times, this entails outstripping players who are twice their age, according to data from the US Soccer Federation.

FIFA referees must pass two intensive fitness tests that evaluate speed and endurance to demonstrate their physical capabilities. Referees must run 40 metres 6 times in the first test. 

One needs to finish this test in six seconds for a male referee. Between each sprint, he has one minute and thirty seconds to spare. The second test assesses the ability to carry out repeated high-intensity runs for extended periods. He must complete 100 metres in 30 seconds before walking 50 metres in 35 seconds 20 times over ten laps around a track field.

Moreover, unlike most football players, referees do not have professional trainers. They must find time outside of their jobs to stay in excellent physical condition. The last American referee to work at the world cup, Brian Hall, exercised 4 hours each day, including interval training and weights and jogging two years before the tournament.

How Much Are They Paid?

When you talk about being put on display, the referees are at the forefront of every match. Both teams regard the referees as gods since each decision will break one team’s hearts and delight the other.

Now, when it comes to discussing how much money they make throughout the world cup, the referees that officiate the event receive a basic salary of $70,000 for the duration of the tournament. They also receive $3000 for every game. Aside from that, FIFA is paying all of their other costs throughout the competition.

On the other hand, the assistant referees make less than the leading referees. Their starting pay for the tournament is $25,000 per year, with an extra $2,000 for each match. However, these amounts have increased over the last decade due to world cup sponsorships and other commercial arrangements for the biggest football tourney in the world.


Referees are an integral part of any football game. To ensure that the competition is fair, league organisers seek the finest referees from all over the world to officiate in their league. The grandest stage deserves the most outstanding quality of officials.

Ultimately, the heat that FIFA world cup referees endure in each tournament has been evident. The fame they may gain during a match could not last beyond the end of the event, but their take-home salary may last as long as they want.

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