Poor Local Referees and High-paid Foreign Referees in Saudi Arabia
Employing foreign referees to run the Saudi League matches is not something new. This is due to the low-efficient local refereeing as well as a dispute, objections, and accusations between clubs following some matches of the League.
The former international referee, Abdullah Al-Zaid, stressed the need to restore confidence in the Saudi referees.
He hoped that the video assistant referees technology (VAR) will help reduce the referees’ mistakes.
The former international referee, Mohammed Al-Muqaitaib, reasoned the low efficiency of the refereeing in Saudi Arabia to several reasons.
He said, “everyone is blamed. Referees in Saudi Arabia do not get much attention to some matters such as the financial aspects. They also get no facilities or arrangements to help make their work more comfortable. The blame falls on the Football Federation and the Referees Committee for this.”
It costs 19.6 million riyals to employ 112 foreign referees to run the Saudi League matches.
During the 2020/21 season, the Referees Committee in Saudi Arabia employed 112 referees to run almost half of the Saudi Professional League matches, 112 out of 240 matches.
The employment of foreign referees is draining the treasuries of Saudi clubs, costing 19.6 million riyals, 175,000 Saudi riyals per match.
Many Saudi clubs already suffer from financial problems and the inability to get a certificate of financial competence, making it impossible to sign new players.
These clubs include Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad, and Al-Ahly. However, Saudi fans are still demanding to employ high-level and experienced foreign referees.