High salaries in the Saudi Pro League may entice referees from the English Premier League. They may follow in the footsteps of some of those notable players who jumped to the Middle East this summer.
The Saudi Pro League signed high-profile players during the most recent transfer window. That helped bring international attention to the league and boost its profile. Players like Neymar, Benzema, Mane, Kante, Mahrez, and Firmino all exited Europe.
As a result of the lucrative contracts on offer, a number of foreign coaches have also flocked to the league. Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and Liverpool great Steven Gerrard joined the league as managers.
Due to the Gulf state’s growing prowess on the field, attention panned to officials who oversee matches there.
Saudi Arabia offers Premier League referees incomparable salaries
Saudi Arabia is now actively seeking top officials from all around Europe for permanent positions, as reported by The Times. Numerous Premier League and other top European League executives have been approached about the possibility of leaving the continent.
At the peak of their profession, referees in the Premier League may earn upwards of $365,000. The Saudi league, on the other hand, may be able to provide a significant pay raise.
In the current system, referees from other countries may officiate exhibition games. For instance, Michael Oliver received $3,650 to referee a match between Al-Hilal and Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, The Mirror claims.
That sum is double what referees make per game in England’s top division.
Mark Clattenburg warns match officials against move
If referees decide to leave the Premier League for the Saudi Arabian league, Mark Clattenburg has warned that they risk being disqualified from refereeing at the World Cup. Former Premier League official and current employee of the Greek FA, Clattenburg, oversaw officiating in Saudi Arabia during the 2017-18 season.
The move cost the Englishman the opportunity to officiate at the World Cup and the European Championships. However, he later admitted that he had not realized the consequences of his actions.
“My problem with the idea of having full-time referees going there from Europe is that I can’t see referees giving up the chance to referee in the UEFA Champions League, Euros, or World Cup unless they are at the end of their career.
“I thought I would be able to still go to the World Cup taking one of the European places but FIFA and UEFA insisted I should be viewed as a Saudi referee and I did not want to take the place of anyone from there,” he told The Times.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images
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