FIFA, the governing body of football in the world’s most populous nation, has announced plans to allow referees to earn more money by being paid by their clubs.
The decision, announced on Wednesday, was welcomed by the Premier Leagues Players’ Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association, which represents the most popular leagues in the country.
“The Premier League has always strived to be the best in the business, and this is an important step in our ongoing effort to build the sport we all love into the world-class entity that it is today,” said the Premier Sports Commission.
The new system, which will be implemented on February 15, is expected to lead to an increase in referees’ wages, with players earning a combined total of €1.5m (£1.24m) for their work.
“This new system will be an important part of ensuring that the quality of our games, which we all cherish, remains the standard, and that we have the right balance between the integrity of our sport and the integrity and fairness of our refereeing,” said former Premier League referee Tim Ream.
“It is the best we can achieve, and we can be very proud that the Premier and Football League will be able to help achieve it.”
Ream, who is also an executive of the Premier Football League, has long argued for the introduction of a wage cap on the wages paid to referees, arguing that the system is too restrictive.
Under the new system referees will earn a salary based on the number of games they play, and will be paid by clubs based on their overall financial position.
The salary cap is set at a level similar to what the English Football Association has been proposing for referees for years.
“There are some really important things about this,” said Ream, adding that the wage cap would give referees an incentive to keep working hard and ensure the integrity.
“We have a real problem when the referees are paid more than the players, but they are the ones who are really making the decisions about whether or not they should be awarded a penalty.”
They are the one who are actually doing the work.
“A similar system was introduced in the Australian Football League in 2015, but that was set to expire in 2021.