Former Premier League official Mark Halsey, supported by talkSPORT host Simon Jordan, suggests that a pay rise is crucial to prevent top referees from joining the lucrative Saudi Pro League, where financial incentives have recently lured European football talents.
Halsey, advocating for higher salaries offered by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), emphasizes that England’s leading referees, earning approximately £150,000 annually, could be retained with more competitive compensation.
Notably, a report from The Times reveals that several top European referees have been approached for potential moves to the SPL, which surpassed the Premier League in summer transfer spending.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Halsey affirms that financial security is a significant factor, especially considering the abuse officials face in England. He singles out Michael Oliver, regarded as England’s best referee, as a potential candidate for the Saudi league.
Simon Jordan echoes Halsey’s sentiments, advocating for increased referee remuneration. He proposes a base salary of £250,000, with the possibility of reaching £500,000 for top referees officiating 20-30 Premier League matches per season. Jordan emphasizes the need to align compensation with the scale of the game and suggests performance indexing.
As the debate unfolds, the football community contemplates the potential impact on the Premier League and the measures required to retain officiating talent amidst growing external competition.