How Much Do Rugby Referees get paid?

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Written By Hutch

Referees in Rugby make sure that players comply with the rules of the game. Sometimes, some rugby players get all crazy and vent on one another. Guess what? Some of these rugby referees have captivating ways of weaving harmony in a team. A former Welsh Rugby Union Referee, Nigel Owens, for instance, made a game-changing statement to defuse a disagreement that almost escalated between Harlequins and Wasps players. Owens said, “You want to catch up, do it after the match.” It’s humor that quickly puts the players on their toes.

How much do Rugby Referees get paid? Do their payments match the level of effort they expend during the game? We’ll have to wait and see.

Payment Scales for Rugby Referees

Rugby referees earn primarily based on their level of experience, influence, and sex. According to a UK online news outlet, the Sun, here are some insights into the payment scales of these referees.

  • Rugby referees at the professional level receive £2.2k for a main event and £1.2k for a low-level game.
  • Female rugby referees receive £1.6k for the main event and £600 for a regular match.
  • Rookie/community Referees get £400 per event.
Category of Rugby RefereeFees per regular gameFees per Main Event

Categories of Rugby Referees

There are several types of Rugby Referees. However, let’s stick to the three most prominent categories. They include:

  • Professional and Elite Referees.
  • Community Referees.
  • Ex-Player Referees.

Professional Referees

Professional Referees undergo extensive training programs to become rugby referees. The Rugby governing bodies usually appoint them to oversee high-level competitions. A professional rugby referee must be confident and impartial. In this way, he/she can successfully officiate the game.

Community Referees

Unlike the Professional Referees, the Community Referees do not undergo formal training. They volunteer at local and amateurish rugby competitions. In any case, they utilize their volunteering experiences to build their portfolio. However, with time, they can progress to a professional level.

Ex-Player Referees

Ex-Player Referees are former rugby players who take up the role of a referee after retirement. They know their onions and usually put themselves in the shoes of the players.

What’s more? Jonathan Kaplan is an excellent example of an Ex-Player Referee. He was a top rugby player between 2003-11 before he retired in 2013. Kaplan undertook his final test appearance as a Referee in November 2013.

Note that every rugby referee must have excellent communication and conflict-resolution skills. They must acquaint themselves with the rules of the game. Sturdy’s mental and physical fitness will also go a long way in helping a rugby referee thrive.

Factors Influencing Rugby Referees’ Payment

Several factors influence the payment of rugby referees. They are:

Level of Experience and Integrity

Generally, individuals with substantial experience and integrity within their professional circle get higher pay. This also applies to rugby referees. Their top-notch management skills make them the most sought-after for leagues and competitions.

Nature of matches

The kind of matches that a referee officiates determines his/her remuneration. For instance, rugby referees who officiate local matches receive the lowest fees. It usually covers their accommodation and transportation.


Fees may vary based on where the referees live. The reason is simple. Each country has different budgetary structures for its referees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does every professional rugby referee receive the same pay?

No, they don’t. The kind of payment they receive will depend on location, the level of their experience, and the nature of the matches they officiate.

How much do rookie rugby referees earn?

Rookie rugby referees earn £400 per match.

How much do professional rugby referees receive?

Professional rugby referees earn not less than £1.2k for a low-level game and £2.2k or more for a high-level game.

How much do female rugby referees earn?

Female rugby referees receive £600 for regular games and £1.6k for high-level games.

Final Words

Rugby referees play a significant role in the smooth running of the sport. They maintain order and unity among the players. Most times, they can’t let their emotions collide with professionalism. However, the referees’ fees, especially at the professional level, make up for it.

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