Michael Oliver, a current Premier League referee, earned about $3,000 to officiate a match in Saudi Arabia earlier this week. The Premier League referee traveled to the Middle Eastern country to call a game between Al Hilal and Al Nassr. Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League.
The Daily Mail claims that the Saudi league paid for Oliver to fly business class to and from Saudi Arabia. English top flight officials supposedly make roughly half of the aforementioned price for Premier League matches. Oliver, and perhaps other English referees, could make similar trips in the future.
Not first Premier League referee to go to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere
Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) leader Howard Webb is apparently more lenient than previous officiating bosses. Webb, a former Premier League referee himself, is open to allowing other officials to work overseas. This is, of course, as long as they don’t miss any of their domestic work.
Oliver was not on duty to referee any of the Champions League fixtures during the week. This allowed him to travel to the Middle East for the Saudi matchup. He will be back on the pitch for a English top flight game at the weekend.
Oliver booked Ronaldo for NFL tackle on Al Hilal player
The Saudi match ended in a 2-0 victory for Al Hilal thanks to multiple penalties awarded by Oliver. However, perhaps the most noteworthy moment of the night for ref came when he booked Ronaldo in the second half. The Portugal international bear-hugged an opposing player and then proceeded to essentially choke-slammed the player to the ground. Ronaldo’s wrestling move could have merited a sending off, but Oliver only gave the superstar a yellow card.
The widely-considered top referee in England will next officiate Liverpool’s matchup with Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Oliver, 38, began his refereeing career back in 2003. He was quickly added to the National List of Referees just four years later. Oliver has been a Premier League official since 2010 and was added to the UEFA Elite list in 2018.
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