While Premier League referees receive about £57,000 a year plus match fees, select group assistants, or linesmen as they are more commonly known, can collect as little as £145 a week, prompting demands for improved wages and parity with their European counterparts, reports The Guardian. The disparity in earnings means that the select group assistants have little choice but to combine officiating at the highest level with holding down a regular job.
The select group assistants have called for the introduction of a £5,000 annual retainer as well as significantly higher match fees.
However, Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the select group assistants' employer, has refused to agree to the concept of the retainer and this week approved match fee pay rises that were far lower than those for which officials had hoped.
"Even if the claim was met in full, we would be talking about rewards that are considerably lower than many other parts of Europe, when we're talking about the Premier League being the richest league in the world," said Alan Leighton, Prospect's national secretary.