Referees offered fee rise for Scottish Championship games

By Kheredine IdessaneBBC Scotland
Referee Willie Collum brandishes a red card to Hibernian's Scott Robertson against Hearts
Top referees like Willie Collum have handled big matches in the Scottish Championship this season

Referees are being offered a rise of more than 20% for handling Scottish Championship games.

If the current proposal, seen by BBC Scotland, is accepted, officials will receive a £45 increase - to £240 per match - for this season, backdated.

But fees for Premiership matches - £840 - will remain as they are until a £10 rise for the 2016-17 season.

Additional increases are, however, being pledged if savings can be made on match officials' expenses.

Newspaper reports in August suggested that referees were considering a second strike within four years if demands for increased wages when officiating Championship matches were not met.

In November 2010, they decided to strike amid concerns they were not receiving adequate protection from the Scottish Football Association against criticism from players, coaches, fans and the media.

Replacement officials from other countries were brought in until the dispute was settled.

A large disparity in Premiership and Championship fees came sharply into focus this season with the relegation of Hearts and Hibernian, along with the promotion of Rangers, leading to more high-profile matches.

Payments for Scottish referees
Current match fees - Premiership £840; Championship £195; League One £150; League Two £150
2014/15 backdated offer - Premiership £840; Championship £240; League One £170 ; League Two £160
2016/2017 'minimum' fees - Premiership £850; Championship £260; League One £180; League Two £165

The new fees proposal is a result of negotiations between the Scottish Senior Football Referees' Association and the Scottish Professional Football League.

Referees have been asked to vote on the proposal, which would cover the next three seasons.

Should they accept, the final details would be put forward to the SPFL and SFA for approval.

The referees' union believes the SPFL proposal "to be the best that we can currently achieve through negotiation".

An agreement had originally been reached a month ago but had to be altered after the SPFL proposed that travelling expenses should fall into line with those operated by the SFA - 45p/mile.

The SPFL has suggested that costs could be reduced if "not all match officials take their cars, or car share".

If this results in a reduction overall expenses costs, the SSFRA and SPFL have agreed that 90% of this saving would go towards an increase in referee fees in future years.